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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
26 40309 May 11, 2010
Songs From the Movies
4 6
51.5
 
77 21 21.3 0 2 1 3 0
27 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
28 38411 Feb 28, 2005
Open
10 10
51.1
 
90 16 21.2 1 2 4 2 1
29 41388 Apr 24, 2013
Open / One-Hit Wonders
4 10
52.6
 
79 27 21.2 0 2 4 4 0
30 39889 Mar 17, 2009
Grand Ole Opry
11 11
55.4
 
86 25 21.1 0 3 4 2 2
31 37488 Aug 20, 2002
1980s & 1990s
4 8
54.5
 
82 17 21.0 2 0 1 4 1
32 38097 Apr 20, 2004
Barry Manilow
7 7
52.3
 
78 18 21.0 1 1 3 2 0
33 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
34 40639 Apr 6, 2011
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
9 9
60.8
 
86 33 20.9 0 1 3 4 1
35 39512 Mar 5, 2008
1980s
8 8
51.9
 
80 26 20.9 0 1 5 1 1
36 40288 Apr 20, 2010
Inspirational (Idol Gives Back)
7 7
52.0
 
88 31 20.9 0 3 1 2 1
37 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
38 41333 Feb 28, 2013
Open
10 10
44.3
 
78 16 20.7 1 3 5 1 0
39 39945 May 12, 2009
Judges' Choice / Idol's Choice
3 6
53.7
 
87 28 20.7 0 1 3 1 1
40 40660 Apr 27, 2011
Carole King
6 9
55.4
 
92 23 20.7 0 3 2 1 3
41 38454 Apr 12, 2005
Year You Were Born
8 8
51.4
 
90 19 20.6 1 1 4 1 1
42 38846 May 9, 2006
Elvis Presley
4 8
53.3
 
86 21 20.6 0 3 1 2 2
43 40674 May 11, 2011
Inspirational Songs / Lieber & Stoller
4 8
58.0
 
85 34 20.5 0 2 2 3 1
44 40687 May 24, 2011
Finale
2 6
51.3
 
74 25 20.5 0 2 2 2 0
45 39581 May 13, 2008
Idol's / Producers' / Judges'
3 9
51.2
 
86 16 20.4 1 2 2 3 1
46 39917 Apr 14, 2009
Songs From The Cinema
7 7
45.7
 
69 15 20.4 1 2 1 3 0
47 37481 Aug 13, 2002
Burt Bacharach Love Songs
5 5
53.6
 
92 15 20.4 1 0 2 1 1
48 40239 Mar 2, 2010
Billboard charts
10 10
43.4
 
70 15 20.4 1 3 3 3 0
49 41010 Apr 11, 2012
2010s
7 10
59.9
 
79 28 20.4 0 1 3 6 0
50 40611 Mar 9, 2011
Personal Idol
13 13
51.6
 
84 24 20.3 0 3 6 3 1
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