Country songbird LeAnn Rimes is reportedly back in the running as a possible judge on  the reality competition 'The X Factor.'

According to, the 'Borrowed' singer is under consideration to replace Britney Spears, whom insiders are speculating will be released from the show after a generally lackluster performance.

The news comes almost a year after Rimes first sought to appear on the show. She met with Freemantle North America, the company that produces the show, last February, hoping to replace either Nicole Scherzinger or Paula Abdul. Spears and Demi Lovato got hired instead, but their presence on the show not only failed to grow its audience, it actually coincided with a 25 percent drop in ratings.

Given Spears' whopping $15 million paycheck and the overall negative reviews she has received as a judge, it seems likely she won't be returning this year. Instead, insiders say that Fox has agreed to renew the struggling program only on the condition that it drastically reduce its overhead, meaning that if Rimes does snag the gig, she's likely to earn a more modest salary -- somewhere between $1 million and $9 million.

That's not enough to attract someone like Jon Bon Jovi, who's reportedly not interested in a spot on 'The X Factor' despite departing judge L.A. Reid having named him as his preferred successor. But it could still be very well worthwhile for Rimes, whose singing career could benefit from the mainstream TV exposure while helping to bring country fans to the program -- a win-win situation like Blake Shelton's gig on 'The Voice.'

If Rimes does land the job, hopefully she'll avoid any further embarrassments like the one she experienced in late December, when she joined 13-year-old contestant Carly Rose Sonenclar to sing her hit 'How Do I Live.' Rimes was widely criticized after the uneven performance, with various internet gossip sites calling her “unstable” and "out of it” after she appeared to be having difficulty.

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