By Michael Slezak
March 09, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

I hope everyone is limbering up their speed-dialing fingers RIGHT THIS SECOND, because we’re about 24 hours away from the very first episode of American Idol‘s eighth season finals, after which you can vote for whatever contestant rocked Michael Jackson night the hardest! (And the whole world has to text or else call, just to tell you once again: Who’s bad?!?!) I am shocked to report that I got a sudden surge of the internal squealies as I typed that last sentence, despite the fact that none of this season’s top 13 contestants has yet to turn me into a megafan. (Allison Iraheta, you’ve come the closest. Do not disappoint me and choose something atroshe like “Ben” or “Heal the World.”)

Anyhow, I am rambling. This is what happens when you spend days and weeks in the Idol Cave. But let me get to the point: We just finished up a brand-new two-part episode of Idolatry — a top 13 preview!!! — and I’ve taken the liberty of embedding it below. Part one finds Jessica Shaw and me discussing which contestants we’re most looking forward to hearing on Tuesday, and who’s likeliest to get das boot on Wednesday. Part two (which automatically plays when part one finishes, and features a can’t-miss cymbal-clang rant against the show’s most useless judge) is a debate about the things that matter in life: Paula, Kara, Simon, or Randy. You may choose only one today. So go to the message boards and make it happen — after you press play, and after you sign up for’s Idol Prediction Challenge. Failure to enroll in this most awesome of games carries a mandatory sentence of having to wear a combination of Simon’s t-shirts, Randy’s accessories, Kara’s scowl, and Paula’s weaves for the rest of the Idol season. Get signed up now, and remember you can change your vote right up until 7:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday night. So if/when Jasmine Murray someone chokes, you can change your elimination pick at the last minute. Holla! Hey-ey!