This image was lost some time after publication.

Some measure of redemption for Britney Spears, whose disastrous VMAs performance was so universally derided that the one person on Earth willing to leap to her defense has become an international media superstar, may be just an uncomfortable, one-armed hug from Ryan Seacrest away. Us Weekly's website is reporting that Spears is "in negotiations" to put in an appearance at the Emmys on Sunday night, where she can apologize to millions of TV fans for her nationally televised attempted euthanasia of her enfeebled music career:

The source adds that while her appearance has not yet been confirmed, "the idea is to have her come on and apologize for the VMAs. She's weighing the offer." [...]

Though Spears has been keeping a low profile since the show, a source tells Us that at least some within her inner circle are receptive to the Emmy idea and are urging her to do it.

However, a source close to Spears says: "I can't say this is 100 percent not true. All I can say is that the Emmy people aren't dealing with her record company, her manager or her agents at William Morris. So if she is doing anything for the Emmys then it's not going through the official channels."

Putting aside for a moment speculation about who exactly comprises the "inner circle" mulling the idea (our best guess is that the strategic thinktank consists of Sean Preston, her other, still-unnamed baby, career-planning chihuahua Mr. Shaky, and a part-time cleaning lady with limited English skills but a kind smile), there is perhaps no one on the planet with more experience in post-trainwreck mob-mollification than Emmy host Seacrest. Even if Spears' apology (and, God willing, an entire do-over performance like the one recently offered by Extra) is met with a shower of catcalls and boos by TV Academy members upset that their big night has been hijacked by a crass, ratings-grabbing publicity stunt, the mesmerizing combination of Seacrest's blinding smile and the hypnotic cadence of his unrelenting positivity will quickly have them cheering like an auditorium full of Idol auditioners who've just been told they're all going to Hollywood.