The X Factor USA is officially in full swing, following an anticipated premiere Wednesday. Out of over ten hopefuls that made it through via auditions in Los Angeles and Seattle, three names truly stood out with approval from judges — Hip Hop talent Chris Rene, soulful singer Stacy Francis and potential R&B/Urban Pop crooner Marcus Canty.
Despite the fact that he closed out the two hour premiere, Chris Rene clearly moved every single judge on the panel and viewers Wednesday. Detailing his life, which included a struggle with addiction to everything from alcohol to an assortment of drugs, Rene won us over with his original song “Young Homie” (watch video/performance via link to left)
“You got The X Factor,” said Nicole Scherzinger. “Honey i’m tripping on you.”
Rene, who told the judges he has been sober 70 days (video), had everyone on their feet in the audience too. That did not go unnoticed with Simon Cowell.
“Favorite moment… when I meet a star for the first time,” said Cowell. “What I like about the fact. Maybe you need the show and maybe we need you.”
With four votes, as in all four judges saying “yes,” Rene joined soulful singer Stacy Francis.
While Francis had been seen in The X Factor promotional videos earlier this month, her complete audition, performing Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” really left judges stunned — easily voting yes.
“Everything that I do musically is all about having my spirit stirred and having the hair on my arm raised and you did both for me today,” said L.A. Reid (see: LA Reid’s top 5 ‘X Factor’ premiere quotes: Bobby Brown to ‘standing’ hair ?).
Francis, a single mom, opened her audition telling Simon Cowell “I don’t wanna die with this music inside me Simon.”
Marcus Canty, a 20 year old who was running out of time when it came to his mother’s rule that he either make it in music in two years or go to college, got his big break also Wednesday. Drawing comparisons to not only Bobby Brown but, Usher, Canty moved both Simon Cowell and LA Reid performing “I Wish” (Stevie Wonder).
“I really really like you,” said Simon Cowell. “You remind me of Usher. I tell you Marcus, you are one to watch.”
Not looking to Usher, L.A. Reid thought of a young Bobby Brown following Canty’s performance.
“I know you are unique and you got your own thing but you got that Bobby Brown,” said L.A. Reid.
Other names that made it through during the premiere include 13-year-old Rachel Crowe, Terrell Carter, Siameze Floyd, and boy group The Anser.