There’s raging speculation over which artists will fill the two vacant mentor positions on the ‘X Factor‘ panel. Heavyweight pop divas like Mariah Carey and Beyonce have seen their names tossed into the ring. Another emerging contender for one of the coveted slots? LeAnn Rimes –  and with good reason. ‘X Factor’ could use a dose of country, stat.

CNN reports that Rimes has expressed interest in joining the show and has even met with Fremantle North America, which produces it. Rimes fits one of the main criteria that Simon Cowell is seeking: she’s a female. Word is he wants to two females to replace the departed (read: fired) Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul in order to keep the male/female balance in tact on the mentoring panel.

Rimes could quickly ascent to front-runner status for the high-profile gig, since she would add a country voice to the show, much like Blake Shelton has done for the smash hit ‘The Voice.’ While ‘American Idol‘ saw two country singers compete in the finale last season, ‘X Factor’ lacked any country flavor or flair during its debut season. She could spot quality country talent as well as draw a country audience, which is known to be loyal and to have growing stats in this realm.

Rimes’ own reality show past — she appeared on ‘Star Search’ — allows her to have a unique  and shared perspective when it comes to the contestants, as well. Sounds like a win-win for the show and for Rimes should it go down this path.

According to AOL, Cowell said that meetings will be held over the next few weeks “with a number of people” in order to clarify to the judges just how much of a time commitment the show entails. It does eat a lot of time, so let’s hope Rimes could be up for the job on all fronts.

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