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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 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
26 41766 May 7, 2014
Breakups and Makeups
4 12
57.8
 
93 25 17.6 0 3 3 3 3
27 39924 Apr 21, 2009
Disco
7 7
57.6
 
86 27 18.6 0 1 3 2 1
28 42460 Mar 31, 2016
Hometown / Scott's / Judges' Choice
4 10
57.1
 
89 17 18.0 1 1 3 3 2
29 40323 May 25, 2010
Finale
2 6
57.0
 
89 26 18.8 0 1 3 1 1
30 40982 Mar 14, 2012
Year You Were Born
11 11
57.0
 
91 17 16.4 1 2 2 4 2
31 38798 Mar 22, 2006
1950s
11 11
56.9
 
90 23 17.9 0 3 3 4 1
32 40625 Mar 23, 2011
Motown
11 11
56.8
 
84 29 22.3 0 2 4 4 1
33 40989 Mar 21, 2012
Billy Joel
10 10
56.8
 
87 24 18.9 0 2 3 4 1
34 39511 Mar 4, 2008
1980s
8 8
56.8
 
90 12 15.9 1 1 2 2 2
35 42130 May 6, 2015
Scott's / Judges' / Hometown Choice
4 12
56.8
 
86 19 19.1 1 2 3 5 1
36 39952 May 19, 2009
Finale
2 6
56.7
 
90 24 17.8 0 2 1 1 2
37 41402 May 8, 2013
Jimmy's / Judges' / Producers' Choice
3 9
56.6
 
87 28 19.2 0 1 4 3 1
38 41724 Mar 26, 2014
I'm With The Band
9 9
56.6
 
88 33 20.0 0 2 3 3 1
39 38090 Apr 13, 2004
Movie Songs
8 8
56.4
 
94 22 16.8 0 3 2 1 2
40 41759 Apr 30, 2014
America's Requests
5 12
56.3
 
84 27 18.8 0 4 2 4 2
41 40632 Mar 30, 2011
Elton John
11 11
56.0
 
81 21 21.4 0 2 4 4 1
42 40605 Mar 3, 2011
Open
6 6
55.8
 
82 26 18.3 0 2 1 2 1
43 40975 Mar 7, 2012
Stevie Wonder / Whitney Houston
13 13
55.8
 
92 20 16.8 0 4 3 4 2
44 38482 May 10, 2005
Country / Gamble & Huff
4 8
55.6
 
80 25 20.1 0 2 1 4 1
45 42102 Apr 8, 2015
Billboard Hits
8 8
55.5
 
86 32 20.1 0 1 4 1 2
46 38125 May 18, 2004
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
55.4
 
84 23 14.6 0 3 2 1 3
47 40660 Apr 27, 2011
Carole King
6 9
55.4
 
92 23 20.7 0 3 2 1 3
48 41731 Apr 2, 2014
Audition Songs
8 12
55.4
 
89 9 18.6 2 0 3 5 2
49 39889 Mar 17, 2009
Grand Ole Opry
11 11
55.4
 
86 25 21.1 0 3 4 2 2
50 39532 Mar 25, 2008
Year You Were Born
10 10
55.2
 
95 23 19.4 0 3 3 2 2
51 41710 Mar 12, 2014
Songs from the Cinema
11 11
55.2
 
90 15 16.7 2 1 2 4 2
52 41395 May 1, 2013
Now and Then
4 8
54.8
 
85 29 19.9 0 1 5 1 1
53 38853 May 16, 2006
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
54.6
 
90 21 17.6 0 1 5 2 1
54 37488 Aug 20, 2002
1980s & 1990s
4 8
54.5
 
82 17 21.0 2 0 1 4 1
55 40267 Mar 30, 2010
Soul / R&B
10 10
54.5
 
89 19 16.0 1 2 2 3 2
56 37754 May 13, 2003
Random / Judge's / Idol's
3 9
54.4
 
88 16 17.7 1 0 4 3 1
57 39938 May 5, 2009
Rock
4 6
54.3
 
88 7 18.2 1 1 1 1 2
58 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
59 37726 Apr 15, 2003
Billy Joel
7 7
54.3
 
91 8 14.9 1 1 2 2 1
60 42446 Mar 17, 2016
America's Requests
6 11
54.2
 
88 26 16.2 0 3 4 2 2
61 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
62 37761 May 20, 2003
Finale
2 6
54.0
 
86 39 15.8 0 2 3 0 1
63 41338 Mar 5, 2013
Open
10 10
54.0
 
86 5 15.3 1 2 3 2 2
64 42123 Apr 29, 2015
Judges Hometown / What I Am
4 8
53.9
 
72 35 23.1 0 2 3 3 0
65 41017 Apr 18, 2012
Now and Then
7 14
53.9
 
82 27 23.1 0 4 5 3 2
66 38062 Mar 16, 2004
Soul
12 12
53.8
 
87 6 17.0 1 4 2 1 4
67 39945 May 12, 2009
Judges' Choice / Idol's Choice
3 6
53.7
 
87 28 20.7 0 1 3 1 1
68 40316 May 18, 2010
Judges' Choice / Idols' Choice
3 6
53.7
 
77 19 19.7 1 1 1 3 0
69 37698 Mar 18, 2003
Movie Hits
11 11
53.6
 
90 19 13.5 1 3 2 2 3
70 39910 Apr 7, 2009
Year You Were Born
8 8
53.6
 
94 15 16.8 1 1 3 1 2
71 37481 Aug 13, 2002
Burt Bacharach Love Songs
5 5
53.6
 
92 15 20.4 1 0 2 1 1
72 38111 May 4, 2004
Big Band
5 10
53.5
 
91 24 20.3 0 2 5 1 2
73 38132 May 25, 2004
Finale
2 6
53.5
 
83 20 12.7 0 2 1 2 1
74 41031 May 2, 2012
60's / British
5 12
53.4
 
82 16 19.8 1 3 3 4 1
75 41374 Apr 10, 2013
Burt Bacharach / Wish You Wrote
6 12
53.4
 
96 2 15.1 1 2 3 4 2
76 37747 May 6, 2003
Bee Gees Songs
4 8
53.4
 
87 20 18.3 0 2 3 2 1
77 40281 Apr 13, 2010
Elvis Presley
9 9
53.3
 
81 14 19.1 1 0 5 2 1
78 41353 Mar 20, 2013
The Beatles
9 9
53.3
 
78 13 17.9 1 1 3 4 0
79 38846 May 9, 2006
Elvis Presley
4 8
53.3
 
86 21 20.6 0 3 1 2 2
80 42074 Mar 11, 2015
Audition Songs
12 12
53.3
 
80 4 17.8 1 2 3 5 1
81 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
82 42109 Apr 15, 2015
American Classics
7 14
53.2
 
75 26 23.2 0 4 3 7 0
83 39560 Apr 22, 2008
Andrew Lloyd Webber
6 6
53.2
 
87 12 16.2 2 0 1 2 1
84 40604 Mar 2, 2011
Open
12 12
53.2
 
93 9 17.3 2 1 4 3 2
85 40240 Mar 3, 2010
Billboard charts
10 10
53.0
 
90 6 16.4 1 3 2 2 2
86 40968 Feb 29, 2012
Open
12 12
52.9
 
85 11 14.5 2 2 2 4 2
87 38433 Mar 22, 2005
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
52.9
 
89 7 19.8 1 1 5 3 1
88 38475 May 3, 2005
Lieber & Stoller / This Week
5 10
52.8
 
89 13 18.8 1 2 3 2 2
89 38839 May 2, 2006
Year Born / Billboard Top 10
5 10
52.8
 
81 15 19.5 1 2 3 3 1
90 41388 Apr 24, 2013
Open / One-Hit Wonders
4 10
52.6
 
79 27 21.2 0 2 4 4 0
91 41051 May 22, 2012
Finale
2 6
52.5
 
84 24 19.3 0 2 2 1 1
92 42095 Apr 1, 2015
Kelly Clarkson
9 9
52.4
 
86 6 16.4 2 1 1 4 1
93 41752 Apr 23, 2014
Country / Rock
6 12
52.4
 
82 10 17.7 1 3 3 4 1
94 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
95 39224 May 22, 2007
Finale
2 6
52.3
 
77 20 19.3 0 2 1 3 0
96 40253 Mar 16, 2010
Rolling Stones
12 12
52.3
 
88 19 19.6 1 2 5 2 2
97 41024 Apr 25, 2012
Queen / Open
6 12
52.3
 
80 30 21.8 0 4 3 4 1
98 38097 Apr 20, 2004
Barry Manilow
7 7
52.3
 
78 18 21.0 1 1 3 2 0
99 41697 Feb 27, 2014
This Is Me
13 13
52.2
 
84 14 16.6 1 3 3 4 2
100 41346 Mar 13, 2013
Music of the American Idols
10 10
52.1
 
89 22 15.6 0 2 4 3 1
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