Santa Cruz’s Chris Rene snags a spot in the top 12 on ‘The X Factor’
Santa Cruz local Chris Rene got one step closer to a $5 million recording contract on Tuesday night’s episode of “The X Factor” … if only by a hair. The 28-year-old garbage collector and recovering drug addict performed Rose Royce’s 1978 low tempo R&B number “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” in front of a packed auditorium of screaming fans.
Yet the song selection by “X Factor” judge L.A. Reid was a questionable one, following an explosive performance by fellow contestant Brian Bradley, a.k.a. Astro. The 14-year-old opened the show with an energetic rendition of Kriss Kross’ 1992 hit rap song, “Jump,” making it difficult for Rene, who came second in the line-up, to match the energy in the room.
That didn’t stop Rene from giving the performance his all, however. Dressed in a simple white T-shirt with a backwards baseball cap, he wooed the crowd with his onstage charisma and soothing vocals—sans the cabaret frills and distracting back-up dancers that seemed to aid in the elimination of contender Phillip Lomax (the song choice of Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer” certainly didn’t help, either).
“X Factor” judge Nicole Scherzinger summed up Rene’s performance best, when she said, “I don’t know if I would have picked that song for you … but you still did your thing.” The polished, confident vocals displayed during Rene’s audition, when he sang his original song, “Young Homey,” weren’t there Tuesday, but the judges remain optimistic about his future on the show. “You are 100 percent authentic—I gotta see you in the show next week,” said Simon Cowell.
The final decision of which three of the four male competitors would advance to the top 12 (airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 on FOX) was up to Reid, who told Rene, following his performance, “We like the unpredictable—unlike these guys,” glancing at the other judges. “You did a great job.”
Tune into FOX at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 to see Rene compete in the next round of “The X Factor.”