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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 42417 Feb 17, 2016
Open
12 12
43.1
 
73 24 23.1 0 7 2 3 0
2 37439 Jul 2, 2002
Open
10 10
36.8
 
60 20 18.1 0 5 4 1 0
3 37705 Mar 25, 2003
Country Rock
10 10
46.7
 
80 28 22.7 0 5 3 1 1
4 38055 Mar 9, 2004
Open
8 8
44.4
 
72 24 18.5 0 5 0 3 0
5 38405 Feb 22, 2005
Open
12 12
46.7
 
87 13 18.8 1 5 2 2 2
6 39133 Feb 20, 2007
Open
12 12
39.3
 
79 12 18.3 3 5 1 3 0
7 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
8 40618 Mar 16, 2011
Year You Were Born
12 12
45.9
 
78 14 19.7 1 5 2 4 0
9 41738 Apr 9, 2014
80's
8 12
46.8
 
86 21 19.3 0 5 3 3 1
10 42424 Feb 24, 2016
Favorite Performance
10 10
42.2
 
79 14 18.2 1 5 1 3 0
11 37691 Mar 11, 2003
Motown
12 12
51.3
 
82 29 17.9 0 4 4 2 2
12 38027 Feb 10, 2004
Open
8 8
50.9
 
84 25 21.5 0 4 1 2 1
13 38062 Mar 16, 2004
Soul
12 12
53.8
 
87 6 17.0 1 4 2 1 4
14 38404 Feb 21, 2005
Open
12 12
48.0
 
84 19 19.5 1 4 4 2 1
15 38770 Feb 22, 2006
Open
12 12
49.2
 
85 7 16.5 1 4 3 2 2
16 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
17 39147 Mar 6, 2007
Open
8 8
42.4
 
67 21 17.4 0 4 2 2 0
18 39161 Mar 20, 2007
British Invasion
11 11
52.1
 
86 23 18.0 0 4 3 2 2
19 39497 Feb 19, 2008
1960s
12 12
47.3
 
82 17 17.6 2 4 2 3 1
20 39505 Feb 27, 2008
1970s
10 10
40.3
 
83 5 16.6 2 4 2 0 2
21 39869 Feb 25, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
43.6
 
84 4 19.8 2 4 3 2 1
22 40233 Feb 24, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
36.8
 
84 3 19.0 3 4 3 1 1
23 40603 Mar 1, 2011
Open
12 12
50.9
 
90 5 16.7 1 4 2 2 3
24 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
25 40967 Feb 28, 2012
Open
13 13
47.0
 
79 7 20.3 1 4 5 3 0
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