When Freddie Combs was brought out on stage for his audition for the X Factor, the crowd’s thoughts were pretty clear. People were shocked, confused even. Freddie was brought on stage in a wheelchair and weighed approximately 540 pounds – but that wasn’t even the start of Freddie’s incredible story. In 2009, Freddie was 920 pounds, and he almost died from his problem with obesity. But he pulled through, with the help of his loving wife, and managed to lose about 400 pounds since his brush with death. All of that struggle led him to the X Factor stage in 2012.

Backstage, Freddie told X Factor cameras that he had started living in a whole new way following his near death in 2009. He confessed that his gift for music had never been properly shown to the world, especially in the last three years; Freddie was a minister and could express himself through song at his job. Unfortunately, due to his medical condition, Freddie was on disability until he could manage his weight and get back to his minister job.

That meant that this opportunity Freddie had before him through the X Factor could have been a huge turnaround in his life. Not only could he and his wife use the money, but Freddie could use the winnings (and the motivation) to make a serious change for his health.

Despite that amazing opportunity, Freddie said he wasn’t nervous to perform in front of the judges.

“I’m not nervous,” Freddie said frankly to the cameras. “It is what it is. I’m going to do my best, and if my best don’t get it done, than I’ll move on.”

With that, Freddie was brought on stage by his wife to speak with the judges. After telling them his touching story and dedicating the song to his loving wife (which was just adorable!), Freddie prepared to sing his big song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

From the moment Freddie opened his mouth to sing, it was clear the performance was going to be amazing. Freddie had a beautifully soulful voice, one that visibly shocked the judges and the studio audience. He crooned his way all the way up to the chorus, which he belted out with amazing strength and emotion, before ending the song with an incredible series of riffs that just made my jaw drop.

Needless to say, Freddie’s song was met with a screaming round of applause by the studio audience and positive feedback from all the judges. Judge L.A. Reid told Freddie that his voice was “heavenly” and judge Demi Lovato said something that I think we were all thinking; she commented on Freddie’s amazing ability to connect with the audience and deeply feel every lyric he sung.

But before giving Freddie his “yes,” judge Simon Cowell made a deal with the amazing singer. Simon told Freddie that he wanted to see him standing to sing that incredible song. Freddie agreed that he would work on himself – to keep losing weight and work on standing out of his wheelchair – and accept each “yes” from the judges.

What an incredible performance! We hope, wherever Freddie is now, that he is continuing to work on himself and exercise his amazing talent for singing.