: MediaTakeOut.com caught wind last week of a rumor among industry insiders that FERGIE from the Black Eyed Peas would be LEAVING the group . .. and being replaced by ANOTHER female singer.

Well now MediaTakeOut.com just spoke with a TOP music industry exec who told us that the group is IN THE WORKS of replacing Fergie, with R&B singer ASHANTI!!!

The insider, who asked to remain anonymous told MediaTakeOut.com, "The group had been looking for a replacement for some time." Ashanti was reportedly brought onto the group's WORLD TOUR - as sort of an AUDITION, to see if she could work with the band - and it worked out PERFECTLY!!

Ashanti and The Black Eyed Peas have been ON TOUR together for nearly a month.

So when can we expect an OFFICIAL announcement? Well, a little birdie tells us that they haven't yet DOTTED the I's and CROSSED the T's yet, legally. But we can expect one in the next few days.

Oh . . . and to those that think that this CAN'T HAPPEN. Black Eyed Peas member Taboo announced earlier this week that as of Nov 23rd (the group's last OFFICIAL tour date) Fergie is taking an INDEFINITE LEAVE. Taboo told the newspaper The New Times. "We have to respect Ferg. Ferg is our sister. She definitely wants to have a family, and we're happy for her."

CONGRATS ASHANTI!!!

Members of the press are REQUIRED to credit MediaTakeOut.com for this EXCLUSIVE news report

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