Jason Merritt/Getty
People Staff
May 19, 2010 12:00 AM

With no mention of her cougar crush on Casey James, Kara DioGuardi made her pick for which of the show’s top three contestants will face off in next week’s American Idol season 9 finale.

“I think it will be a Crystal and Lee finale,” the judge said at the BMI Pop Awards in L.A. on Tuesday. Though she refused to predict exactly who would take the Idol crown, she added of Bowersox, “It’s difficult at a young age to have a real sense of yourself. She hasn’t always made the perfect choice, but she’s always had a good reason behind things.”

Of DeWyze DioGuardi said, “He really is what the show is all about. In many ways he was the heart of the season. He’s who routed for.”

With no cause for pause as far as next season goes, the songwriter is convinced the show will do just fine without the departing Simon Cowell.

“It’s sad to see Simon go, but the show is more needed now than ever because it’s harder for living in obscure places to find a manager who will bring their record to someone who can make a decision.”

If she had her way, she’d sit mentor Harry Connick Jr. in Simon’s chair next year. “He obviously cares,” she says. “And when you’re a judge you have to be invested, opinionated and charming.” –Jessica HerndonJason Merritt/Getty

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