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“Whhhhaaat?” and “Daaayum!” was how X Factor finalist Chris Rene reacted after seeing Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone perform on American Idol during Whitney Houston week. Although brand-loyal to the show that launched his career, the 29-year-old Santa Cruz native was so impressed with the girls’ singing chops, he’s become a vocal fan and insisted THR pass along a video message.
“You guys rock,” he declares in the clip, adding, “I know how you feel, too, because I did that whole thing.”
Indeed, he came in third on X Factor‘s inaugural season, beating addiction and thousands of hopefuls for the coveted slot.
As for his own history with Simon Cowell‘s former stomping ground, Rene told The Hollywood Reporter last year that fellow Santa Cruzer and Idol season 10 finalist James Durbin was a main motivator for his own X Factor try-out. “I saw his picture in the paper and I’m like, ‘OK, Chris, step it up because this is what you’re born to do,'” said Rene in Nov. 2011. “That’s the whole reason I’m here now.”
And in another curious Idol-X Factor twist, Idol season 8 semifinalist Alex Lambert, who was eliminated one week shy of the Top 12 to loud and persistent protest by fans, is said to have co-written a song on Rene’s debut album, due out in late Spring or early Summer on Epic Records.
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