Stacy Francis is a 42-year-old mother of two who sneaks into the bathroom to sing at night when her little ones are in bed. She's been living in Los Angeles for the last decade, trying to catch her big break, and worrying about how to pay for her son's education. She was ready to give up, she said, believing her ex when he told her she was too old for stardom.
Chris Rene is a 28-year-old trash hauler and dad who's a recovering drug addict — just 70 days sober — with dreams of music industry stardom.
And then they walked onto "The X Factor" stage …
If that sounds manipulative, it was, but Francis and Rene were also among the best, most memorable contestants introduced on Wednesday night's "X Factor" premiere. In case you missed them, check out video of Francis' performance of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and Rene's original composition, "Young Homie."