By Michael Slezak
Updated May 25, 2010 at 09:41 PM EDT

Image Credit: Michael Becker/FoxSimon Cowell called it on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Randy Jackson did the same on Lopez Tonight. Yes, Idoloonies, as they’ve done in the past, the American Idol judges went public with their season-finale predictions, this time declaring that Lee DeWyze will roll to victory over Crystal Bowersox when the show’s ninth season comes to an end Wednesday night at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre. [Check out the videos here.]

My question is: Should they? After all, I think it’s fair to say neither Crystal or Lee has completely blown open the competition with back-to-back-to-back-to-back epicness, and with that in mind, I think tonight’s six performances will — and should — have an impact on the final vote. So how come Simon and Randy couldn’t just play it coy on their media tour, let the Tuesday night performance finale play out as organically and dramatically as possible, and then perhaps, when the final note’s been sung and the phone lines are open, put their predictive skills on the line? I know, I know…it’s hard to sit through 13 weeks of live performances and not have some kind of feeling about how the season will shake out. But shouldn’t the judges be held to a different standard than the rest of us? By publicly putting their money (and their egos) on Lee, don’t Randy and Simon now have a rooting interest in the guy? Will their “impartiality” be impaired tonight by their need to see their own predictions come true? It’s certainly a question worth pondering. And as I go into my oxygen chamber snack tank to prepare for tonight’s festivities, I turn the discussion over to you. [Related: My ultimate American Idol season 9 playlist (15 songs total, not ranked); Paula Abdul reportedly joining CBS’ ‘Got to Dance’; let’s hope it resembles her ‘Cold Hearted video; follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.]