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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

Click on a column header to sort by that column.
# Date Episode / Theme #Cn #Pf Average Rating Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
1 42109 Apr 15, 2015
American Classics
7 14
53.2
 
75 26 23.2 0 4 3 7 0
2 41010 Apr 11, 2012
2010s
7 10
59.9
 
79 28 20.4 0 1 3 6 0
3 41381 Apr 17, 2013
Year You Were Born / Divas
5 10
58.6
 
73 40 19.5 0 0 4 6 0
4 39875 Mar 3, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
51.8
 
84 12 19.6 2 2 2 5 1
5 40232 Feb 23, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
43.3
 
79 7 18.5 3 2 2 5 0
6 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
7 41731 Apr 2, 2014
Audition Songs
8 12
55.4
 
89 9 18.6 2 0 3 5 2
8 41745 Apr 16, 2014
Competitors' Picks
7 10
58.0
 
90 15 19.3 1 1 2 5 1
9 42074 Mar 11, 2015
Audition Songs
12 12
53.3
 
80 4 17.8 1 2 3 5 1
10 42130 May 6, 2015
Scott's / Judges' / Hometown Choice
4 12
56.8
 
86 19 19.1 1 2 3 5 1
11 37488 Aug 20, 2002
1980s & 1990s
4 8
54.5
 
82 17 21.0 2 0 1 4 1
12 37502 Sep 3, 2002
Finale
2 6
60.7
 
74 41 17.2 0 0 2 4 0
13 38447 Apr 5, 2005
Classic Musicals
9 9
47.7
 
71 11 16.1 2 1 2 4 0
14 38482 May 10, 2005
Country / Gamble & Huff
4 8
55.6
 
80 25 20.1 0 2 1 4 1
15 38798 Mar 22, 2006
1950s
11 11
56.9
 
90 23 17.9 0 3 3 4 1
16 39217 May 15, 2007
Idol's / Producers' / Judge's
3 9
59.2
 
80 33 22.6 0 2 2 4 1
17 39498 Feb 20, 2008
1960s
12 12
49.3
 
84 6 19.5 2 1 4 4 1
18 39525 Mar 18, 2008
Beatles
11 11
46.9
 
72 16 20.2 1 3 3 4 0
19 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
20 40618 Mar 16, 2011
Year You Were Born
12 12
45.9
 
78 14 19.7 1 5 2 4 0
21 40625 Mar 23, 2011
Motown
11 11
56.8
 
84 29 22.3 0 2 4 4 1
22 40632 Mar 30, 2011
Elton John
11 11
56.0
 
81 21 21.4 0 2 4 4 1
23 40639 Apr 6, 2011
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
9 9
60.8
 
86 33 20.9 0 1 3 4 1
24 40667 May 4, 2011
Now And Then
5 10
60.4
 
94 7 19.4 1 1 2 4 2
25 40968 Feb 29, 2012
Open
12 12
52.9
 
85 11 14.5 2 2 2 4 2
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