BRITNEY SPEARS has a big crush on Simon Cowell, which is the major reason she was ready to sign on as a judge for his TV talent show “The X Factor.”

And now that Simon has broken up with his fiancee, sources say sparks could fly between TV’s “Mr. Nasty” and the “Toxic” singer if, and when, she signs on the dotted line.

Smooth-talking Simon already has a history of romancing “X Factor” beau­ties, reportedly having an affair with Dannii Minogue on the UK version, trying to seduce Aussie pop beauty Natalie Imbruglia and obsessing over Cheryl Cole when she joined the show. And Britney could be the next in line!

“Britney is so starstruck by Simon she was willing to sign for a lot less than her management team was hold­ing out for,” said a source. “And now that he’s unattached, anything could happen.”

Simon, 52, recently ended his en­gagement to 39-year-old “American Idol” makeup artist Mezhgan Hus­sainy, calling the relationship “a big mistake.” He pulled out of their wed­ding plans after a series of blistering arguments.

But the wildly successful TV producer admits he likes his women on the fiery side. “I’m attracted to certain personalities who are difficult to control,” Simon recently told a re­porter. “I’m attracted to crazy women. I encourage crazy behavior and I make them crazy.”

And Britney certainly has had her share of wild escapades. Simon turned to her as a potential “X Factor” mentor to spice things up after firing last sea­son’s judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones. But sources close to Britney say there is also an “obvious chemistry” between Simon and her.

During contract negotiations, Brit­ney was said to be willing to do the show for less than $10 million, but her business manager, fiance Jason Trawick, insisted on the $15 million figure. Her father Jamie, appointed by the courts to handle Britney’s business and personal affairs, agreed.

“Jason is a bit jealous of Simon’s babe magnet reputation,” the source revealed. “And he knows Britney has a thing for Simon.

“Jason plans on sticking close to Britney if she does the show. He knows she is easily smitten, and that Simon can really turn on the charm. He just wants to make sure Britney doesn’t get carried away.”

Although Britney is eager to sign on the dotted line, she and her handlers have made sure the contract contains a bulletproof “no bullying” clause – so Britney won’t be the target of Simon’s nasty criticism if things don’t work out between them.

“Britney loves Simon,” a source revealed. “She admits she’s had a crush on him for years, but being on his show does make her a little bit nervous of falling victim to his attacks.”