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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
76 37747 May 6, 2003
Bee Gees Songs
4 8
53.4
 
87 20 18.3 0 2 3 2 1
77 40281 Apr 13, 2010
Elvis Presley
9 9
53.3
 
81 14 19.1 1 0 5 2 1
78 41353 Mar 20, 2013
The Beatles
9 9
53.3
 
78 13 17.9 1 1 3 4 0
79 38846 May 9, 2006
Elvis Presley
4 8
53.3
 
86 21 20.6 0 3 1 2 2
80 42074 Mar 11, 2015
Audition Songs
12 12
53.3
 
80 4 17.8 1 2 3 5 1
81 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
82 42109 Apr 15, 2015
American Classics
7 14
53.2
 
75 26 23.2 0 4 3 7 0
83 39560 Apr 22, 2008
Andrew Lloyd Webber
6 6
53.2
 
87 12 16.2 2 0 1 2 1
84 40604 Mar 2, 2011
Open
12 12
53.2
 
93 9 17.3 2 1 4 3 2
85 40240 Mar 3, 2010
Billboard charts
10 10
53.0
 
90 6 16.4 1 3 2 2 2
86 40968 Feb 29, 2012
Open
12 12
52.9
 
85 11 14.5 2 2 2 4 2
87 38433 Mar 22, 2005
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
52.9
 
89 7 19.8 1 1 5 3 1
88 38475 May 3, 2005
Lieber & Stoller / This Week
5 10
52.8
 
89 13 18.8 1 2 3 2 2
89 38839 May 2, 2006
Year Born / Billboard Top 10
5 10
52.8
 
81 15 19.5 1 2 3 3 1
90 41388 Apr 24, 2013
Open / One-Hit Wonders
4 10
52.6
 
79 27 21.2 0 2 4 4 0
91 41051 May 22, 2012
Finale
2 6
52.5
 
84 24 19.3 0 2 2 1 1
92 42095 Apr 1, 2015
Kelly Clarkson
9 9
52.4
 
86 6 16.4 2 1 1 4 1
93 41752 Apr 23, 2014
Country / Rock
6 12
52.4
 
82 10 17.7 1 3 3 4 1
94 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
95 39224 May 22, 2007
Finale
2 6
52.3
 
77 20 19.3 0 2 1 3 0
96 40253 Mar 16, 2010
Rolling Stones
12 12
52.3
 
88 19 19.6 1 2 5 2 2
97 41024 Apr 25, 2012
Queen / Open
6 12
52.3
 
80 30 21.8 0 4 3 4 1
98 38097 Apr 20, 2004
Barry Manilow
7 7
52.3
 
78 18 21.0 1 1 3 2 0
99 41697 Feb 27, 2014
This Is Me
13 13
52.2
 
84 14 16.6 1 3 3 4 2
100 41346 Mar 13, 2013
Music of the American Idols
10 10
52.1
 
89 22 15.6 0 2 4 3 1
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