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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 (Finals only)

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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 42466 Apr 6, 2016
Finale
3 7
65.7
 
90 32 14.9 0 1 1 3 2
2 40996 Mar 28, 2012
Personal Idol
9 9
64.7
 
93 45 19.9 0 0 4 3 2
3 37474 Aug 6, 2002
Big Band
6 6
64.5
 
95 36 14.5 0 1 2 1 2
4 38825 Apr 18, 2006
Great American Songbook
7 7
63.7
 
87 9 15.7 1 0 1 3 2
5 39203 May 1, 2007
Bon Jovi
6 6
63.0
 
86 15 18.0 1 0 1 2 2
6 39931 Apr 28, 2009
Rat Pack Standards
5 5
62.8
 
76 43 22.4 0 0 2 3 0
7 41409 May 15, 2013
Finale
2 6
62.2
 
92 44 15.8 0 0 4 0 2
8 42453 Mar 24, 2016
Rock / Sia
4 8
61.5
 
92 28 15.1 0 2 1 3 2
9 41779 May 20, 2014
Finale
2 6
61.0
 
87 41 17.5 0 0 3 1 2
10 40639 Apr 6, 2011
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
9 9
60.8
 
86 33 20.9 0 1 3 4 1
11 37502 Sep 3, 2002
Finale
2 6
60.7
 
74 41 17.2 0 0 2 4 0
12 37740 Apr 29, 2003
1960s / Neil Sedaka
5 10
60.6
 
93 15 15.2 1 1 3 2 3
13 42136 May 12, 2015
Finale
2 6
60.5
 
87 18 19.8 1 0 1 3 1
14 40667 May 4, 2011
Now And Then
5 10
60.4
 
94 7 19.4 1 1 2 4 2
15 40274 Apr 6, 2010
Lennon-McCartney
9 9
60.1
 
89 33 19.2 0 2 3 2 2
16 41010 Apr 11, 2012
2010s
7 10
59.9
 
79 28 20.4 0 1 3 6 0
17 39588 May 20, 2008
Finale
2 6
59.7
 
84 34 21.5 0 1 1 3 1
18 41038 May 9, 2012
California / Wish You Wrote
4 10
59.6
 
85 39 19.4 0 1 5 1 3
19 39217 May 15, 2007
Idol's / Producers' / Judge's
3 9
59.2
 
80 33 22.6 0 2 2 4 1
20 37495 Aug 27, 2002
Idol's Choice / Judge's Choice
3 6
58.8
 
82 36 23.3 0 1 3 1 1
21 41381 Apr 17, 2013
Year You Were Born / Divas
5 10
58.6
 
73 40 19.5 0 0 4 6 0
22 39539 Apr 1, 2008
Dolly Parton
9 9
58.3
 
83 24 18.4 0 1 4 3 1
23 38489 May 17, 2005
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
58.1
 
94 33 16.0 0 1 5 1 2
24 40674 May 11, 2011
Inspirational Songs / Lieber & Stoller
4 8
58.0
 
85 34 20.5 0 2 2 3 1
25 41745 Apr 16, 2014
Competitors' Picks
7 10
58.0
 
90 15 19.3 1 1 2 5 1
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