Leann Rimes staggered through Wednesday night's "X Factor" performance of her 1997 hit, "How Do I Live," a duet with 13-year-old finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar. Rimes' wobbly vocals and messy hair led social media users to wonder if something was amiss with country singer, whose stormy private life is often the stuff of tabloid fodder.
— Chandra Williams (@Chance_Lynn) December 20, 2012
Though judge Britney Spears called the duet "shockingly amazing," Rolling Stone wasn't so pleased:
Rimes' greasy-haired, skin and bones dumpster-diver look was a total distraction. We couldn't take our eyes off her. She's only 30 – what in the h*** happened to her? However, even if we had covered our eyes, the song was still a disaster. Their voices didn't jell, and LeAnn's raspy vocals just seemed to drag Carly's usually flawless sound down in the muck.
But Rimes' denied rumors that she might have had too much to drink, saying that she pulled back so as not to upstage Sonenclar.
"I was trying to help this 13-year-old girl who was having some trouble with the song," Rimes told TMZ Wednesday.
"LeAnn was not performing the way she would normally perform, because she was on stage with a young girl," Rimes' lawyer, Larry Stein, added.
At least Sonenclar didn't seem to mind. She tweeted this photo of herself with Rimes after the show: