"The last name definitely helps and hurts."
"American Idol" has helped create some of the biggest names in the music industry but sometimes these contestants had a celebrity connection before they ever stepped foot on stage! Throughout the show's 20 seasons, quite a few auditioners have had a famous family member who was cheering them on from the sidelines.
From Jim Carrey's daughter to Aretha Franklin's granddaughter, these celebrity relatives have all given the singing competition a shot. While they were all talented in their own right, many of these "Idol" hopefuls learned that their famous last name didn't mean they were guaranteed a golden ticket!
Read on to find out which auditioners had famous family…
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1. Grace Franklin
During the recent 20th season of "American Idol," Aretha Franklin's 15-year-old granddaughter Grace gave things a shot when she auditioned for the judges. She sang both the Fugees "Killing Me Softly" and her late grandma's "Ain't No Way," although it wasn't enough for the judges to send her to the next round. Lionel Richie explained that while the teen has the "family lineage," she just needs a little more practice.
"You're 15. You've got the family lineage. What we need to put now is time and some work in to get it up to par. The age and the voice has to all come together on the same path…If you go and come back and put the shyness behind you and the voice in front of you, you're going to be something amazing, and I don't want to be the one to make you tip over and fall at this stage," Lionel said.
In 2021, Claudia Conway took a chance and auditioned for "American Idol." The teenager, whose mother Kellyanne Conway once served as Donald Trump's Senior Counselor, made headlines for opposing her mother's political views. During her audition, she opened up about her family's struggles before performing "Love on the Brain" by Rihanna and "When We Were Young" by Adele.
"When your mom's working for the President of the United States, who you very much disagree with, it's really hard. But when life is all going downhill, I have my music. Now I kind of want to get out of the drama, get out of the political whatever and let people know that I'm a singer, and that this is what I want to do," Claudia said.
3. Jane Carrey
Jim Carrey's daughter Jane auditioned for "American Idol" during the show's 11th season. Her performance of "Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt earned her a ticket to Hollywood although she was later eliminated during the first round.
"The last name definitely helps and hurts," she said during her audition.
Jordin Sparks has made her own name in the music industry but when she first auditioned for the show, she was best known as the daughter of NFL player Phillippi Sparks. She went on to win the whole season -- and her father couldn't be any more proud of her success!
"I'm just very grateful and thankful for her having grown up as a beautiful woman...A father has to be present, so I am very thankful that I was picked by the man upstairs to be your father," Phillippi told E! News.
5. Lara Johnston
"American Idol" Season 10 featured an appearance from Lara Johnston, the daughter of Doobie Brothers founder Tom Johnston. Her audition got her through to Hollywood week but she ultimately got eliminated during the group round. That didn't stop Lara though, who went on to receive a music degree from the University of Southern California and is still pursuing music today.
6. Nikko Smith
Back in 2005, Nikko Smith was a contestant on season 4 of "American Idol." The son of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith auditioned with his own rendition of Stevie Wonder's "All I Do" and received a "yes" from all three judges. He ended up making it all the way to the Top 10 and took ninth place overall -- and still is releasing music to this day.
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7. Shannon Magrane
Shannon Magrane auditioned for "American Idol" during the show's 11th season. Shannon's father Joe played on the St. Louis Cardinals, much like Nikko's father Ozzie. Shannon also made it far on the show, placing in the Top 13 during the season.
8. Ricco Barrino
Ricco Barrino was a familiar face to some "American Idol" fans, as his younger sister Fantasia Barrino was the winner of Season 3 of the show. Ricco gave it a try when he auditioned for Season 7, singing "A Change Is Gonna Come." Unfortunately, he was cut after his first callback. He continued to release music and later put out a project titled "Fantasia's Brother" -- all about stepping out of his sister's shadow.
9. Amelia Hammer Harris
Music runs in the family for Amelia Hammer Harris, whose songwriter dad Jack Hammer penned many hit songs including "Great Balls of Fire." Amelia auditioned on Season 10, during which she sang "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones. She ended up making it to the Top 24 before she was eliminated.
"I'm a lot like him…[But] I tend to try and stay away from my father's legacy, just because I'm trying to make my own. Love the guy, but will probably stay away from performing any of his songs," Amelia said after her audition.