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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
201 37656 Feb 4, 2003
Open
8 8
45.1
 
70 11 19.3 1 3 1 3 0
202 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
203 40969 Mar 1, 2012
Open
6 6
44.5
 
77 18 18.0 2 0 2 2 0
204 38055 Mar 9, 2004
Open
8 8
44.4
 
72 24 18.5 0 5 0 3 0
205 37453 Jul 16, 2002
Motown
10 10
44.3
 
77 7 13.6 2 2 3 3 0
206 41333 Feb 28, 2013
Open
10 10
44.3
 
78 16 20.7 1 3 5 1 0
207 41688 Feb 18, 2014
Open
10 10
43.9
 
74 7 20.3 2 1 5 2 0
208 42082 Mar 19, 2015
Songs from the Cinema
11 11
43.8
 
83 5 14.5 2 3 2 3 1
209 39869 Feb 25, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
43.6
 
84 4 19.8 2 4 3 2 1
210 40239 Mar 2, 2010
Billboard charts
10 10
43.4
 
70 15 20.4 1 3 3 3 0
211 38104 Apr 27, 2004
Gloria Estefan
6 6
43.3
 
72 8 16.5 1 3 0 2 0
212 40232 Feb 23, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
43.3
 
79 7 18.5 3 2 2 5 0
213 39567 Apr 29, 2008
Neil Diamond
5 10
43.1
 
77 10 20.1 2 2 3 3 0
214 42417 Feb 17, 2016
Open
12 12
43.1
 
73 24 23.1 0 7 2 3 0
215 39147 Mar 6, 2007
Open
8 8
42.4
 
67 21 17.4 0 4 2 2 0
216 39182 Apr 10, 2007
Latin
8 8
42.3
 
73 17 19.8 1 3 3 1 0
217 42424 Feb 24, 2016
Favorite Performance
10 10
42.2
 
79 14 18.2 1 5 1 3 0
218 39210 May 8, 2007
Bee Gees
4 8
41.8
 
77 19 21.6 1 3 2 2 0
219 38776 Feb 28, 2006
Open
10 10
41.6
 
70 7 16.7 2 2 4 2 0
220 37425 Jun 18, 2002
Open
10 10
41.4
 
86 9 18.1 3 1 4 1 1
221 37432 Jun 25, 2002
Open
10 10
41.0
 
84 15 17.4 3 2 2 2 1
222 40260 Mar 23, 2010
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
41.0
 
85 2 16.0 3 1 5 1 1
223 42410 Feb 10, 2016
Open
12 12
41.0
 
71 5 18.4 2 4 2 4 0
224 38805 Mar 29, 2006
2000s
10 10
40.9
 
72 9 20.3 2 2 4 2 0
225 41690 Feb 20, 2014
Open
5 5
40.6
 
82 20 16.8 0 3 1 0 1
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