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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
126 41360 Mar 27, 2013
Detroit
8 11
51.0
 
81 6 19.3 1 2 4 3 1
127 40603 Mar 1, 2011
Open
12 12
50.9
 
90 5 16.7 1 4 2 2 3
128 38027 Feb 10, 2004
Open
8 8
50.9
 
84 25 21.5 0 4 1 2 1
129 38461 Apr 19, 2005
1970s Dance Music
7 7
50.7
 
88 34 22.3 0 3 2 1 1
130 37719 Apr 8, 2003
Billboard #1 Hits
8 8
50.6
 
87 11 18.8 2 0 2 3 1
131 39141 Feb 28, 2007
Open
10 10
50.6
 
92 13 14.8 2 2 2 3 1
132 38069 Mar 23, 2004
Country
11 11
50.5
 
89 17 18.7 1 3 2 3 2
133 41332 Feb 27, 2013
Open
10 10
50.5
 
81 26 22.7 0 3 3 3 1
134 43213 Apr 23, 2018
Open
14 14
50.5
 
86 8 20.5 1 4 4 4 1
135 37467 Jul 30, 2002
1970s
7 7
50.4
 
76 29 19.1 0 3 1 3 0
136 38418 Mar 7, 2005
Open
8 8
50.4
 
85 16 17.6 1 2 3 1 1
137 38783 Mar 7, 2006
Open
8 8
50.4
 
87 12 18.5 1 1 4 1 1
138 39148 Mar 7, 2007
Open
8 8
50.3
 
88 17 14.8 1 1 3 2 1
139 42432 Mar 3, 2016
The Grammys
10 10
50.1
 
77 20 15.8 0 3 3 4 0
140 38083 Apr 6, 2004
Elton John
9 9
50.0
 
89 8 15.8 2 1 2 1 3
141 38818 Apr 11, 2006
Queen
8 8
50.0
 
68 12 23.4 1 1 3 3 0
142 39553 Apr 15, 2008
Mariah Carey
7 7
50.0
 
76 28 23.3 0 2 4 1 0
143 43240 May 20, 2018
Finale
3 9
50.0
 
86 13 21.6 1 2 3 2 1
144 38860 May 23, 2006
Finale
2 6
49.8
 
77 13 12.5 1 1 2 2 0
145 38784 Mar 8, 2006
Open
8 8
49.8
 
80 24 19.9 0 3 2 2 1
146 42116 Apr 22, 2015
Arena Anthems
6 12
49.6
 
88 15 20.9 1 3 4 3 1
147 39189 Apr 17, 2007
Country
7 7
49.6
 
84 9 13.6 2 1 1 1 2
148 38468 Apr 26, 2005
2000s
6 6
49.5
 
82 17 19.3 1 1 2 1 1
149 40247 Mar 10, 2010
Billboard charts
8 8
49.5
 
80 21 23.3 0 2 3 2 1
150 38777 Mar 1, 2006
Open
10 10
49.4
 
92 19 15.6 1 3 3 1 2
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