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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 40295 Apr 27, 2010
Shania Twain
6 6
51.2
 
77 40 25.0 0 0 5 1 0
2 38818 Apr 11, 2006
Queen
8 8
50.0
 
68 12 23.4 1 1 3 3 0
3 37495 Aug 27, 2002
Idol's Choice / Judge's Choice
3 6
58.8
 
82 36 23.3 0 1 3 1 1
4 39553 Apr 15, 2008
Mariah Carey
7 7
50.0
 
76 28 23.3 0 2 4 1 0
5 40247 Mar 10, 2010
Billboard charts
8 8
49.5
 
80 21 23.3 0 2 3 2 1
6 42109 Apr 15, 2015
American Classics
7 14
53.2
 
75 26 23.2 0 4 3 7 0
7 42123 Apr 29, 2015
Judges Hometown / What I Am
4 8
53.9
 
72 35 23.1 0 2 3 3 0
8 42417 Feb 17, 2016
Open
12 12
43.1
 
73 24 23.1 0 7 2 3 0
9 41017 Apr 18, 2012
Now and Then
7 14
53.9
 
82 27 23.1 0 4 5 3 2
10 37670 Feb 18, 2003
Open
8 8
45.5
 
74 25 22.9 0 3 4 1 0
11 37705 Mar 25, 2003
Country Rock
10 10
46.7
 
80 28 22.7 0 5 3 1 1
12 41332 Feb 27, 2013
Open
10 10
50.5
 
81 26 22.7 0 3 3 3 1
13 39546 Apr 8, 2008
Inspirational (Idol Gives Back)
8 8
47.5
 
79 21 22.6 0 3 2 3 0
14 39217 May 15, 2007
Idol's / Producers' / Judge's
3 9
59.2
 
80 33 22.6 0 2 2 4 1
15 39931 Apr 28, 2009
Rat Pack Standards
5 5
62.8
 
76 43 22.4 0 0 2 3 0
16 38461 Apr 19, 2005
1970s Dance Music
7 7
50.7
 
88 34 22.3 0 3 2 1 1
17 40625 Mar 23, 2011
Motown
11 11
56.8
 
84 29 22.3 0 2 4 4 1
18 40646 Apr 13, 2011
Songs From The Movies
8 8
47.8
 
71 15 22.3 1 1 4 2 0
19 40653 Apr 20, 2011
21st Century
7 7
51.6
 
77 27 22.1 0 3 1 3 0
20 38811 Apr 4, 2006
Country
9 9
46.9
 
71 17 22.0 1 1 4 3 0
21 39877 Mar 5, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
8 8
48.3
 
72 24 22.0 0 3 2 3 0
22 41024 Apr 25, 2012
Queen / Open
6 12
52.3
 
80 30 21.8 0 4 3 4 1
23 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
24 39210 May 8, 2007
Bee Gees
4 8
41.8
 
77 19 21.6 1 3 2 2 0
25 41045 May 16, 2012
Judges' / Idols' / Jimmy's Choice
3 9
52.0
 
74 28 21.6 0 1 5 3 0
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