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  • Born

    1982 (age 35)

Chris Rene, (28, Santa Cruz, CA) stunned the judges and audience of X Factor alike with a rendition of his original melodic hip-hop track “Young Homie.” Songfacts reports that his rendition earned him a standing ovation from the audience and three of the four judges. Rene was mentored by Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid during the competition's live shows and sang "Young Homie" again during the final. He finished third overall in the competition.

Not only did Chris show off some undeniable talent, he also brings a compelling backstory. The trash collector, who on the day of his audition had been sober for 70 days, is a guy trying to make ends meet and do right by his young son. Aw!

That’s not all there is to know about Chris, though. Here’s what else we were able to dig up on him through careful Internet stalki–errr, research.

Musical talent runs in the family. His grandfather, Leon Rene, was a songwriter back in the 30’s - 50’s – his most famous composition is probably “Rockin’ Robin.” Leon’s son, Chris’s father Rafael “Googie” Rene, was a moderately successful jazz and soul singer in the 50’s and 60’s. These days, Chris’s sister Gina and brother Gabriel are both members of an electronica group called Soulstice.

He has an album on iTunes! Soul’d Out, which was released in 2009, shows that Chris has more than one great song in him. With a little polish from the Factor, dude’s got definite potential for success.

Drugs were a part of Chris’s life for a long time before he got sober. According to police records, he was busted for possession in both 2002 and 2007. We’re really glad he managed to clean up his act in time to audition for the Factor; the only high we want to hear about Chris getting is an album going very high on the charts, right?

He loves his fans! Most of his Facebook has been wiped, but there’s a post from a few days ago in which Chris says “To all my Fans i Love you and am so thankful!” Which is very sweet, but, um, of course he loves us, because we’re awesome.

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