The 28-year-old, who currently hauls trash for a living, told the judges that he had been clean and sober for 70 days after leaving rehab and was looking to build a better life for his family and 2-year-old son.
"There is always a chance and there is always a choice. Instead of doing nothing with myself I want my son to see me singing on stage because life is too precious to waste," he said.
Rene received four yeses from judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, LA Reid and Nicole Scherzinger, with both Reid and Cowell saying that he must promise to remain on the "right track".
Cowell said: "It's always my favourite feeling in the world when I sit in this chair and I meet a star for the first time. There is something about you and what I like is the fact that maybe you need the show and maybe we need you."
Reid said that his hip-hop friends like Jay-Z and Kanye West would be proud of Rene's performance, while Scherzinger called his talent "indescribable".
Abdul added: "You are a bright light. You lit us all up. You are so talented that words can't articulate."
Rene, who was accompanied to the audition by his brother, later said: "The first best day of my life was when my son was born. The second best day of my life was when I got clean and sober. The third best day of my life is what happened just now!"
X Factor continues Thursday night at 8/7c on Fox
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Watch Chris Rene's X Factor audition below: