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X Factor's Chris Rene Debuts His First Single On Ellen

By Norman Byrd on 2012-03-17

California singer/songwriter Chris Rene, who became known for his raspy, high-pitched brand of hip hop on the first season of "X Factor," dropped his first single this week. Some might find it very familiar.

As Americans, most are suckers for a redemption story. Such was the case with Chris Rene, who stepped onto the "X Factor" stage during its first season and wowed the judges, the live audience, and television viewers as well. On Wednesday's episode of "The Ellen Degeneres Show," he wowed the audience again with his original song, "Young Homie."

If the song sounded familiar, it should. The 29-year-old presented the tune for his audition before the four "X Factor" judges last year, receiving great praise from the entire panel. The heartfelt lyrics appealed and he was voted through.

Rene also performed the song as part of a mix in the fifth week of the live shows, combining it with "Let It Be." But he wasn't done pushing his tune, singing it again during the finale.

Now it has become the first song released from his upcoming major label debut album.

Rene, who has worked as a garbageman, revealed he was a recovering addict and had just completed 70 days of sobriety during his audition. He promised judge L. A. Reid, who would later become his mentor, that he would remain so for the show, for his son, and for himself. Rene would go on to finish third overall in the competition, finishing behind Josh Krajcik and the eventual winner, Melanie Amaro.

Entertainment Weekly reported that Rene signed with Epic Records, which is headed by L. A. Reid, in January.

“I’ve dreamt about this moment my whole life,” Rene said. “And now its here. Working with L.A. Reid — ‘Big Homie’ – is a dream come true; he’s a great man.”

L. A. Reid also appeared on "Ellen" and introduced the young rapper.

After performing "Young Homie," Ellen congratulated Rene and announced that his debut CD would be released later this year.

In a video exclusive on the "Ellen" website, Rene expressed his gratitude to his fans and to Ellen Degeneres for having him on the show. As he led the cameraperson around, he revealed the gifts he had received from the show, including his Ellen designer underwear.

And the word he used to describe his exhilaration at his national television debut? "Crazy," he said.

Watch Chris Rene perform "Young Homie" on "Ellen."