The X Factor: Simon Cowell Makes a Deal with 540-Lb. Contestant

Freddie Combs

updated 09/28/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET

originally published 09/28/2012 AT 6:45 AM ET

On Thursday’s episode of The X Factor, one contestant certainly made a big impression.

Freddie Combs, 40, a Greenville, Tenn., minister, told judges Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid how he almost died when his weight peaked at 920 lbs. in 2009.

“Today through exercise and proper diet, I have lost almost 400 lbs.,” Combs, now 540 lbs. and using a oversized wheelchair, said before taking the stage with the help of a handful of stagehands and his wife and caretaker, Kay. “When you almost die, your life changes and you look at living in a whole different manner.”

“I hope the judges will look past my exterior and give a fat boy a chance,” he added, before singing “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

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