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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 38426 Mar 15, 2005
1960s
12 12
48.7
 
90 10 18.1 2 1 6 1 2
2 40611 Mar 9, 2011
Personal Idol
13 13
51.6
 
84 24 20.3 0 3 6 3 1
3 38111 May 4, 2004
Big Band
5 10
53.5
 
91 24 20.3 0 2 5 1 2
4 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
5 38433 Mar 22, 2005
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
52.9
 
89 7 19.8 1 1 5 3 1
6 38489 May 17, 2005
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
58.1
 
94 33 16.0 0 1 5 1 2
7 38853 May 16, 2006
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
54.6
 
90 21 17.6 0 1 5 2 1
8 39512 Mar 5, 2008
1980s
8 8
51.9
 
80 26 20.9 0 1 5 1 1
9 40253 Mar 16, 2010
Rolling Stones
12 12
52.3
 
88 19 19.6 1 2 5 2 2
10 40260 Mar 23, 2010
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
41.0
 
85 2 16.0 3 1 5 1 1
11 40281 Apr 13, 2010
Elvis Presley
9 9
53.3
 
81 14 19.1 1 0 5 2 1
12 40295 Apr 27, 2010
Shania Twain
6 6
51.2
 
77 40 25.0 0 0 5 1 0
13 40967 Feb 28, 2012
Open
13 13
47.0
 
79 7 20.3 1 4 5 3 0
14 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
15 41017 Apr 18, 2012
Now and Then
7 14
53.9
 
82 27 23.1 0 4 5 3 2
16 41038 May 9, 2012
California / Wish You Wrote
4 10
59.6
 
85 39 19.4 0 1 5 1 3
17 41045 May 16, 2012
Judges' / Idols' / Jimmy's Choice
3 9
52.0
 
74 28 21.6 0 1 5 3 0
18 41333 Feb 28, 2013
Open
10 10
44.3
 
78 16 20.7 1 3 5 1 0
19 41339 Mar 6, 2013
Open
10 10
47.2
 
76 8 19.4 1 2 5 2 0
20 41395 May 1, 2013
Now and Then
4 8
54.8
 
85 29 19.9 0 1 5 1 1
21 41688 Feb 18, 2014
Open
10 10
43.9
 
74 7 20.3 2 1 5 2 0
22 41703 Mar 5, 2014
Home
12 12
47.2
 
64 23 20.2 0 3 5 4 0
23 41717 Mar 19, 2014
Billboard Top 10
10 10
47.7
 
80 18 18.2 1 2 5 1 1
24 42061 Feb 26, 2015
Open
12 12
46.5
 
87 9 17.2 2 2 5 1 2
25 37425 Jun 18, 2002
Open
10 10
41.4
 
86 9 18.1 3 1 4 1 1
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