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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
126 40969 Mar 1, 2012
Open
6 6
44.5
 
77 18 18.0 2 0 2 2 0
127 37691 Mar 11, 2003
Motown
12 12
51.3
 
82 29 17.9 0 4 4 2 2
128 38798 Mar 22, 2006
1950s
11 11
56.9
 
90 23 17.9 0 3 3 4 1
129 39504 Feb 26, 2008
1970s
10 10
51.4
 
93 19 17.9 1 3 2 2 2
130 41353 Mar 20, 2013
The Beatles
9 9
53.3
 
78 13 17.9 1 1 3 4 0
131 37712 Apr 1, 2003
Disco
8 8
47.5
 
77 9 17.9 2 1 2 3 0
132 39952 May 19, 2009
Finale
2 6
56.7
 
90 24 17.8 0 2 1 1 2
133 37754 May 13, 2003
Random / Judge's / Idol's
3 9
54.4
 
88 16 17.7 1 0 4 3 1
134 38041 Feb 24, 2004
Open
8 8
47.4
 
92 10 17.6 1 1 4 1 1
135 38418 Mar 7, 2005
Open
8 8
50.4
 
85 16 17.6 1 2 3 1 1
136 39497 Feb 19, 2008
1960s
12 12
47.3
 
82 17 17.6 2 4 2 3 1
137 38853 May 16, 2006
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
54.6
 
90 21 17.6 0 1 5 2 1
138 37432 Jun 25, 2002
Open
10 10
41.0
 
84 15 17.4 3 2 2 2 1
139 39147 Mar 6, 2007
Open
8 8
42.4
 
67 21 17.4 0 4 2 2 0
140 40604 Mar 2, 2011
Open
12 12
53.2
 
93 9 17.3 2 1 4 3 2
141 39897 Mar 25, 2009
Motown
10 10
52.0
 
87 14 17.2 2 1 3 2 2
142 37502 Sep 3, 2002
Finale
2 6
60.7
 
74 41 17.2 0 0 2 4 0
143 38062 Mar 16, 2004
Soul
12 12
53.8
 
87 6 17.0 1 4 2 1 4
144 38791 Mar 15, 2006
Stevie Wonder
12 12
48.8
 
84 14 17.0 2 3 2 3 2
145 41690 Feb 20, 2014
Open
5 5
41.4
 
81 21 16.8 0 3 1 0 1
146 40975 Mar 7, 2012
Stevie Wonder / Whitney Houston
13 13
55.8
 
92 20 16.8 0 4 3 4 2
147 38090 Apr 13, 2004
Movie Songs
8 8
56.4
 
94 22 16.8 0 3 2 1 2
148 39910 Apr 7, 2009
Year You Were Born
8 8
53.6
 
94 15 16.8 1 1 3 1 2
149 41710 Mar 12, 2014
Songs from the Cinema
11 11
55.2
 
89 16 16.7 1 2 2 4 2
150 38776 Feb 28, 2006
Open
10 10
41.6
 
70 7 16.7 2 2 4 2 0
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