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Episodes

Among the many curiosities you'll find in the Episodes table below is this little tidbit: From Season Two through Season Six, the lowest-rated Final 3 episode (AI5's, at 54.7) outpolled the highest-rated Finale (AI2's, 54.0). But upon further review, we suppose that's not all that surprising. AI Finales tend to be ragged affairs comprising 83 separate commercial breaks, a few reprise performances, and those always-popular American Idol Original Winners' Songs™, which the staff at WNTS.com is convinced are secretly written by saboteurs hired by rival networks.

On the other hand, a Final 3 episode is truly Must-See TV: three contestants, three songs apiece, and two tickets to the Kodak Theater on the line. Each contestant is fresh off an emotional trip home, and each is forced, for the first time since the Hollywood Round, to perform at least one song not of his or her own choosing. The pressure has to be suffocating, but by and large the Idols have risen to the challenge: nine 5-star performances (including 90-plus ones from Bo Bice and Katharine McPhee), 13 at 4-stars, and just two clocking in at 1-star. The Final Three are usually in it to win it.

As for the rest of the episodes, about the only advice we can offer is this: never try to predict whether or not a show will be any good based on its theme. As evidence, take a look at some of the themes of the highest-rated episodes below.

[back to top] American Idol  Episodes

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# Date Episode / Theme #Cn #Pf Average Rating Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
26 41766 May 7, 2014
Breakups and Makeups
4 12
57.8
 
93 25 17.6 0 3 3 3 3
27 39924 Apr 21, 2009
Disco
7 7
57.6
 
86 27 18.6 0 1 3 2 1
28 42460 Mar 31, 2016
Hometown / Scott's / Judges' Choice
4 10
57.1
 
89 17 18.0 1 1 3 3 2
29 40323 May 25, 2010
Finale
2 6
57.0
 
89 26 18.8 0 1 3 1 1
30 40982 Mar 14, 2012
Year You Were Born
11 11
57.0
 
91 17 16.4 1 2 2 4 2
31 38798 Mar 22, 2006
1950s
11 11
56.9
 
90 23 17.9 0 3 3 4 1
32 40625 Mar 23, 2011
Motown
11 11
56.8
 
84 29 22.3 0 2 4 4 1
33 40989 Mar 21, 2012
Billy Joel
10 10
56.8
 
87 24 18.9 0 2 3 4 1
34 39511 Mar 4, 2008
1980s
8 8
56.8
 
90 12 15.9 1 1 2 2 2
35 42130 May 6, 2015
Scott's / Judges' / Hometown Choice
4 12
56.8
 
86 19 19.1 1 2 3 5 1
36 39952 May 19, 2009
Finale
2 6
56.7
 
90 24 17.8 0 2 1 1 2
37 41402 May 8, 2013
Jimmy's / Judges' / Producers' Choice
3 9
56.6
 
87 28 19.2 0 1 4 3 1
38 41724 Mar 26, 2014
I'm With The Band
9 9
56.6
 
88 33 20.0 0 2 3 3 1
39 38090 Apr 13, 2004
Movie Songs
8 8
56.4
 
94 22 16.8 0 3 2 1 2
40 41759 Apr 30, 2014
America's Requests
5 12
56.3
 
84 27 18.8 0 4 2 4 2
41 40632 Mar 30, 2011
Elton John
11 11
56.0
 
81 21 21.4 0 2 4 4 1
42 40605 Mar 3, 2011
Open
6 6
55.8
 
82 26 18.3 0 2 1 2 1
43 40975 Mar 7, 2012
Stevie Wonder / Whitney Houston
13 13
55.8
 
92 20 16.8 0 4 3 4 2
44 38482 May 10, 2005
Country / Gamble & Huff
4 8
55.6
 
80 25 20.1 0 2 1 4 1
45 42102 Apr 8, 2015
Billboard Hits
8 8
55.5
 
86 32 20.1 0 1 4 1 2
46 38125 May 18, 2004
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
55.4
 
84 23 14.6 0 3 2 1 3
47 40660 Apr 27, 2011
Carole King
6 9
55.4
 
92 23 20.7 0 3 2 1 3
48 41731 Apr 2, 2014
Audition Songs
8 12
55.4
 
89 9 18.6 2 0 3 5 2
49 39889 Mar 17, 2009
Grand Ole Opry
11 11
55.4
 
86 25 21.1 0 3 4 2 2
50 39532 Mar 25, 2008
Year You Were Born
10 10
55.2
 
95 23 19.4 0 3 3 2 2
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