January 17, 2012 at 09:16 PM EST

American Idol semi-finalists aren’t the only ones getting record deals these days.

Chris Rene, X Factor’s third-place finisher last season, has just told EW exclusively that he’ll be officially signing to Epic Records.

“I’ve dreamt about this moment my whole life,” says Rene. “And now its here. Working with L.A. Reid — ‘Big Homie’ —  is a dream come true; he’s a great man,” Rene continued, referring to his X Factor mentor, who also helms the label.

On the show, former garbageman Rene shared his backstory — which included a descent into drug addiction and subsequent rehab — and found a group of fans early on, eventually finishing behind winner Melanie Amaro and runner-up Josh Krajcik on the Simon Cowell-helmed singing competition, which offered a $5 million record contract to the winning finalist.

So what do you guys think — were you rooting for Rene on X Factor? Are you excited to hear his full-length album?

Read more:

Nicole Scherzinger performs new song ‘Pretty’ on ‘The X Factor’; will she finally catch her break?Kris Allen working on his second album: What does he need to prove?

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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