I've read and heard in a few places that LeAnn just missed the role. Apparently, she was only 6 when she went for Annie. Yes, I agree - too young.
Thie is from one of her websites:
"LeAnn Rimes won her first talent contest at the age of five and almost won the lead in Broadways Annie 2 at age six. Musically, she has been influenced by Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Barbara Streisand, and her parents. At age six, she moved to Texas to pursue her dream of country superstar. At age eight, she was a two-week champion on TVs star search. (http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/6178/facts.html)"