The backstory of "X Factor" third-place finalist Chris Rene was possibly the most harrowing of that show's entire inaugural season, and his first televised performance, of his original song "Young Homie," was definitely one of the greatest TV talent show auditions of all time. Clean and sober for only 70 days at the time of that memorable appearance, the then-28-year-old recovering meth addict, trash man, and single father seemed to have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and he seemed to want and need Simon Cowell's $5 million contract just a little more than the other contestants. And it was that troubled background, and that hunger, along with his raw talent, that really led to Chris's season-long popularity. "Young Homie" went instantly viral and eventually surpassed 18 million views on YouTube, and he rode that momentum all the way to "The X Factor's" finale in December 2011.
photo: Derick Tortorella
Chris ended up losing that aforementioned $5 million contract to Melanie Amaro, but his "X Factor" mentor, Epic Records chairman/CEO L.A. Reid--who told Chris, "You're the most original contestant on the show, and that will help you when you make records"--of course signed him anyway. Now, Chris Rene is set to release his Epic Records debut in October.
Chris recently came by Yahoo! Music to perform "Trouble," his new single co-penned by "American Idol" alum Alex Lambert, along with his signature song "Young Homie" and a sneak-preview snippet of another never-played new track, "Tidal Wave." He also chatted with Reality Rocks about his "X Factor" experience, his continuing recovery, and his new album. Check out all the videos here!