nick cannon*It’s real simple.

If “American Idol” wants Mariah Carey to replace Jennifer Lopez, they’re going to have to dig deep, says Carey’s husband Nick Cannon.

As has been reported, Steven Tyler and Lopez aren’t coming back so “AI” needs replacements and Carey’s name is at the top of the list.

Meanwhile, Aretha is practically begging the show to give her a shot. Well that’s a whole ‘other story, isn’t it? More on that here.

Cannon told TMZ‘s photographer on Sunday that it’s going to take a HUGE payday to get Mimi to fill Lopez’s vacant seat.

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“I don’t know if they can afford Mariah Carey. That’s a lot of money. If they gave JLo $20 million, they might have to double that!”

Money seems to be an ongoing theme when it comes to divas and singing shows. As TMZ previously reported, Britney Spears based her “X Factor” salary on what JLo made on “Idol” (which reportedly is less than the $20 mil Cannon seems to think).

Sounds like the negotiating has begun.