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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
1 41347 Mar 14, 2013
Open
2 2
46.5
 
47 46 19.5 0 0 2 0 0
2 40996 Mar 28, 2012
Personal Idol
9 9
64.7
 
93 45 19.9 0 0 4 3 2
3 41409 May 15, 2013
Finale
2 6
62.2
 
92 44 15.8 0 0 4 0 2
4 39931 Apr 28, 2009
Rat Pack Standards
5 5
62.8
 
76 43 22.4 0 0 2 3 0
5 37502 Sep 3, 2002
Finale
2 6
60.7
 
74 41 17.2 0 0 2 4 0
6 41779 May 20, 2014
Finale
2 6
61.0
 
87 41 17.5 0 0 3 1 2
7 40295 Apr 27, 2010
Shania Twain
6 6
51.2
 
77 40 25.0 0 0 5 1 0
8 41381 Apr 17, 2013
Year You Were Born / Divas
5 10
58.6
 
73 40 19.5 0 0 4 6 0
9 37761 May 20, 2003
Finale
2 6
54.0
 
86 39 15.8 0 2 3 0 1
10 41038 May 9, 2012
California / Wish You Wrote
4 10
59.6
 
85 39 19.4 0 1 5 1 3
11 37474 Aug 6, 2002
Big Band
6 6
64.5
 
95 36 14.5 0 1 2 1 2
12 37495 Aug 27, 2002
Idol's Choice / Judge's Choice
3 6
58.8
 
82 36 23.3 0 1 3 1 1
13 42123 Apr 29, 2015
Judges Hometown / What I Am
4 8
53.9
 
72 35 23.1 0 2 3 3 0
14 38461 Apr 19, 2005
1970s Dance Music
7 7
50.7
 
88 34 22.3 0 3 2 1 1
15 39588 May 20, 2008
Finale
2 6
59.7
 
84 34 21.5 0 1 1 3 1
16 40674 May 11, 2011
Inspirational Songs / Lieber & Stoller
4 8
58.0
 
85 34 20.5 0 2 2 3 1
17 38489 May 17, 2005
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
58.1
 
94 33 16.0 0 1 5 1 2
18 39217 May 15, 2007
Idol's / Producers' / Judge's
3 9
59.2
 
80 33 22.6 0 2 2 4 1
19 40274 Apr 6, 2010
Lennon-McCartney
9 9
60.1
 
89 33 19.2 0 2 3 2 2
20 40639 Apr 6, 2011
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
9 9
60.8
 
86 33 20.9 0 1 3 4 1
21 41724 Mar 26, 2014
I'm With The Band
9 9
56.6
 
88 33 20.0 0 2 3 3 1
22 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
23 42102 Apr 8, 2015
Billboard Hits
8 8
55.5
 
86 32 20.1 0 1 4 1 2
24 42466 Apr 6, 2016
Finale
3 7
65.7
 
90 32 14.9 0 1 1 3 2
25 37446 Jul 9, 2002
Open
5 5
49.0
 
65 31 20.2 0 1 2 2 0
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