Sean "Diddy" Combs has had a change of heart and is now interested in replacing departed judge Simon Cowell on American Idol's upcoming season -- for a price.

The rapper, music producer and reality star says he's willing to join Idol's judging panel if the show's producers are willing to pay him to pay him as much as they were paying Cowell.

"At first when people were asking me if I was interested in the job I was like, 'no,' you know, my ego was involved and all of that [and I said]  'No, that's not my style, I'm going to let them go do that,'" he told George Lopez during Wednesday night's Lopez Tonight broadcast.

"But then when I heard how much Simon makes -- I would love the job!  I was just like, 'I got six kids, that check -- if I could get the same check that Simon gets -- we'd have a ball!'"

Combs' name had surfaced as a potential replacement for Cowell late last year before the departed judge even formally announced he would be leaving American Idol to launch an American adaptation of his British The X Factor reality competition on Fox after this past May's ninth-season Idol finale. 

In addition to Combs, music producer Quincy Jones, rapper and producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Idol creator Simon Fuller, music executive Rob Stevenson and entrepreneur Russell Simmons had also been the subject of early speculation about Cowell's possible replacement.

However according to much more recent reports, Idol has been considering Harry Connick Jr., Chris Isaak, Elton John, Jessica Simpson and Justin Timberlake for judging positions on a potentially entirely new panel that would no longer include remaining judges Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi or Ellen DeGeneres.

Rumors that American Idol may be replacing its entire judging panel have surged since multiple reports that former Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe -- who left the show in 2008 to focus on So You Think You Can Dance -- is near a deal to return to the show surfaced on Monday.

Earlier this year, Lythgoe repeatedly told reporters he would address Cowell's exit by replacing Idol's entire judging panel if he were still in charge of the show.

In addition to forming a series of new pop bands via MTV's Making the Band reality competitions, which he produced and starred in beginning with its second season, Combs also searched for a new solo pop star via P. Diddy's Starmaker -- an American Idol-like 2009 MTV reality competition in which he served as one of the show's four judges.

He has also produced and starred in two seasons of I Want to Work for Diddy, a VH1 reality series similar to The Apprentice.
About The Author: Steven Rogers
Steven Rogers is a senior entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and been covering the reality TV genre for two decades.