Chris Rene Improvises the Jackson 5’s ‘I’ll Be There’ on ‘X Factor’
'X Factor' contestant Chris Rene revealed that his grandfather was a songwriter, and the Jackson 5 picked one of his songs to perform, so he has a cosmic connection to the Jacksons. He performed their massive hit 'I'll Be There,' last popularized by Mariah Carey, on tonight's Michael Jackson-themed episode.
During rehearsals, his mentor L.A. Reid said he wanted a little more Chris and a little less Michael. Rene took those words to heart, and demonstrated why he is the total package and a performer, as opposed to just a "singer," thanks to his dance moves and that dreamy R&B voice of his. He harmonized with a trio of female back up singers and ultimately turned in a spirited and fresh performance of a timeless classic.
Like Astro, Rene infused his version with an original rap part, so it was also like a remix. His rap referenced his love for his children before seamlessly shifting back into the song's traditional lyric and hook. His performance was full of heart.
Rene was imaged perfectly, too. We loved the Drake-style, glittery varsity jacket and that he went baseball cap-less. He looked clean cut, too.
Simon Cowell was the most critical judge, saying that Rene offered up a Fugees-esque performance, which we didn't really agree with. Rene was original, unique and oh so charming.
Watch Chris Rene Perform the Jackson 5's 'I'll Be There' on 'X Factor'