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Santa Cruz Man Steals the Show on FOX's 'The X Factor'

Chris Rene wowed the judges on the premiere of 'The X Factor' on Wednesday.

It might still be in Santa Cruz, but American Idol ended in May, and the newest pop culture phenomenon is Simon Cowell's The X Factor.

The British talent-scouting mogul's latest televised endeavor premiered Wednesday night, and the final 10 minutes were dedicated entirely to Chris Rene, a Santa Cruz garbage man fresh out of rehab, who stole the night with his original song called, "Young Homie."

Rene's R&B-reggae-hip-hop-infused stylings evoked a standing ovation from judges Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

"I've worked with some of the greatest hip-hop artists, from Jay-Z to Kanye West," Reid said after Rene's performance. "And all of my boys, they would be proud of me today to tell you that you are the truth." 

Cowell echoed his partner.

"Always my favorite feeling in the world is when I sit in this chair and I meet a star for the first time. There's something about you. What I like ... is that maybe you need the show and maybe we need you."

At the audition, filmed in late April in Seattle, Rene said he was 70 days sober and vowed to change his life for this opportunity.

"I'm done with hauling trash," he said. "It's time to sing on stage and entertain America. ... I want my son to see me singing on stages, because life is too precious to waste." 

See Rene's performance in the video above and stay tuned to Patch as we track his run on The X Factor.

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