When Chris Rene took the stage for his duo of performances tonight on 'X Factor,' it was an anxious moment for the contestant since he barely escaped elimination last week. For his first performance, Rene put his own spin on T.I.'s Rihanna-featured hit 'Live Your Life.'

Rene has proved time and time again that he has the power to captivate audiences, but something sounded a bit off to us as he began to sing Rihanna's chorus in 'Live Your Life.' He seemed to be struggling as he sang the refrain, but Rene shined as he spit his own inspirational rhymes during the verses. The whole dance portion of the show felt forced, however, and the backup dancers didn't end up helping Rene's performance in the long run.

Simon Cowell has been on point with his critiques tonight, and we fully agree with what he had to say to Rene. "I'm not gonna say you're the best singer, because you're not -- but as an overall recording artist with charisma, with presence, you are doing brilliant," Cowell told Rene after his first performance. But could Rene continue to bring in the praises after his second performance?

He sure did. Before he took the stage, Rene actually received a phone call from one of music's greatest icons, Stevie Wonder. Wonder praised Rene for his originality and said, "You are inspiring me right now." Rene was left speechless, and he vowed to give his performance his all despite the fact that he had to prepare at the last minute due to a conflict with scheduling on 'X Factor.' Rene took a risk by performing one of his owns songs, but it paid off.

Rene is truly at his best when he is performing songs he himself wrote. His voice was absolutely beautiful as he sang, "I wonder if we look at our hearts / Exactly what we'd find / Oh baby, we could take a lot of pain away / Maybe we could heal the world today." Accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar melody, Rene floored us with his smooth, R&B vocals. He sounded like Bruno Mars mixed with John Mayer or Jason Mraz, which is great for Rene considering all of those guys are accomplished songwriters like the 'X Factor' hopeful.

After he finished the song and crowd's applause and cheers died down, Rene received rave reviews from the judges. Simon Cowell told him, "At this stage of the show, you've got a $5 million recording contract at stake ... And you decide to sing your own song. It's either stupidity or a stroke of genius. Let me tell you, that was a stroke of genius." L.A. Reid also praised his pupil, saying, "I'm so proud of you," as he recounted the fact that Rene has come full circle on the show, since he performed an original track during the audition rounds.

Tune in to 'X Factor' tomorrow night to see if Chris Rene makes it through to the semi-finals.

Watch Chris Renee Perform T.I. and Rihanna's 'Live Your Life' on 'X Factor'