Show bosses are said to be aiming to change proceedings during the audition phases of the competition, following the departure of judges Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Simon Cowell.
The singer will apparently perform in front of the contestants who have made it to the Boot Camp stage, before they themselves have to perform for her and the judges.
An ITV insider told the Daily Star: "[It will be] very nerve-racking for the contestants but great viewing for the audience.
"Who could follow Rihanna and be confident? This will definitely weed out the good from the bad."
Rihanna performed during the final of last year's series. Her performance, along with Christina Aguilera, attracted many complaints from viewers saying that it was too sexually explicit.
Ofcom eventually ruled that ITV had not breached regulation guidelines by broadcasting the performances.
Watch the video for Rihanna's 'California King Bed' below: