STONE TEMPLE PILOTS star Scott Weiland has emerged as the frontrunner in the race to front the new GUNS N'ROSES - but a reported rehab stint could cost him his dream gig.

The troubled singer has replaced former SKID ROW star Sebastian Bach as the favourite to join ex-Roses stars Slash, Duff Mckagan and Matt Sorum in new act THE PROJECT, but his future with the group hangs in the balance after it has emerged Weiland's heading for rehab.

According to MTV, Weiland is said to either be in or heading to a 30-day rehab programme in another bid to kick his drug habit.

News of the Stone Temple Pilots singer's audition with The Project broke late last week (ends11APR03), and one sign Weiland has the lead over other candidates is his inclusion on work submitted by the group for soundtrack consideration.

A spokesperson for Slash says, "They just did some songs and presented it to film companies. At least one of those tracks feature Weiland's vocals."

But sources close to The Project and to Weiland say the singer is currently involved in rehabilitation.

The spokesman adds, "The group are leaning towards Weiland, provided he wants to do it when he gets out of rehab. They're trying to reach out to help with his sobriety."