September 28th, 2012
11:56 AM ET
As Freddie Combs took the stage on Thursday’s episode of “The X Factor,” judges L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell appeared to lock eyes with each other.
The 540-pound, wheelchair-bound minister from Greeneville, Tennessee, who said he almost died in 2009 when he weighed in at 920 pounds, dedicated his rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” to his wife of almost 16 years.
“My comments for you will not be out of sympathy because of anything that you’ve dealt with, it’s going to be purely based on your voice, which I think is heavenly,” Reid told the contestant.
After similar praise from judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, Cowell said, “When I heard you sing, I had a vision in my mind of you standing singing that song healthy happy and maybe you need some inspiration to help you to the next stage. It's within you to sort this out and I don’t think you deserve to be stuck in that chair.”
Cowell then challenged Combs to stay healthy, saying, “I’ll back you if you back yourself.”
After earning four yeses, and learning that he would be moving on in the singing competition, Combs told his wife, “I have a lot of work cut out for me when I get home. I’m going to stand and sing that song. And L.A. Reid is going to stand with me. How about that one.”
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