GREENSBORO, N.C. — Freddie Combs, a 540-pound minister from Tennessee, impressed the X FACTOR judges during their visit to Greensboro.
Combs, 41, weighed 920 pounds in 2009. Through “hard work and exercise,” he has lost nearly 400 pounds.
“When you almost die you’re life changes and you look at living in a whole different manner,” said Combs.
He sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” for his audition.
“I was bedridden and never came out of the house. My music was never heard,” said Combs. “My biggest dream is to give hope to people my size and let them know they can achieve their dreams.”
Judge L.A. Reid started the commentary stating, “My comments for you will not be out of sympathy because of anything that you have dealt with. It’s going to be purely based on your voice which I think is heavenly.”
Cowell, who was blown away by Combs’ voice, issued him a challenge.
“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 that next stage because it’s within you to sort this out,” said Cowell. “I don’t think that you deserve to be stuck in that chair, I really don’t. But it has to come from you. I kind of feel if we’re gonna go forward that we have to make a sort of a deal with each other, that we’re gonna both work hard to sort this out, yeah? Because I’ll back you if you back yourself.”
Combs received four yeses from the judges and made it through to the second round of judging.