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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
26 37747 May 6, 2003
Bee Gees Songs
4 8
53.4
 
87 20 18.3 0 2 3 2 1
27 37754 May 13, 2003
Random / Judge's / Idol's
3 9
54.4
 
88 16 17.7 1 0 4 3 1
28 37761 May 20, 2003
Finale
2 6
54.0
 
86 39 15.8 0 2 3 0 1
29 38027 Feb 10, 2004
Open
8 8
50.9
 
84 25 21.5 0 4 1 2 1
30 38034 Feb 17, 2004
Open
8 8
31.5
 
61 6 14.0 3 1 3 1 0
31 38041 Feb 24, 2004
Open
8 8
47.4
 
92 10 17.6 1 1 4 1 1
32 38048 Mar 2, 2004
Open
8 8
46.0
 
79 7 16.3 2 1 2 3 0
33 38055 Mar 9, 2004
Open
8 8
44.4
 
72 24 18.5 0 5 0 3 0
34 38062 Mar 16, 2004
Soul
12 12
53.8
 
87 6 17.0 1 4 2 1 4
35 38069 Mar 23, 2004
Country
11 11
50.5
 
89 17 18.7 1 3 2 3 2
36 38076 Mar 30, 2004
Motown
10 10
49.0
 
84 6 16.1 1 2 3 3 1
37 38083 Apr 6, 2004
Elton John
9 9
50.0
 
89 8 15.8 2 1 2 1 3
38 38090 Apr 13, 2004
Movie Songs
8 8
56.4
 
94 22 16.8 0 3 2 1 2
39 38097 Apr 20, 2004
Barry Manilow
7 7
52.3
 
78 18 21.0 1 1 3 2 0
40 38104 Apr 27, 2004
Gloria Estefan
6 6
43.3
 
72 8 16.5 1 3 0 2 0
41 38111 May 4, 2004
Big Band
5 10
53.5
 
91 24 20.3 0 2 5 1 2
42 38118 May 11, 2004
Disco
4 8
47.5
 
81 9 14.1 2 0 2 3 1
43 38125 May 18, 2004
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
55.4
 
84 23 14.6 0 3 2 1 3
44 38132 May 25, 2004
Finale
2 6
53.5
 
83 20 12.7 0 2 1 2 1
45 38404 Feb 21, 2005
Open
12 12
48.0
 
84 19 19.5 1 4 4 2 1
46 38405 Feb 22, 2005
Open
12 12
46.7
 
87 13 18.8 1 5 2 2 2
47 38411 Feb 28, 2005
Open
10 10
51.1
 
90 16 21.2 1 2 4 2 1
48 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
49 38418 Mar 7, 2005
Open
8 8
50.4
 
85 16 17.6 1 2 3 1 1
50 38419 Mar 8, 2005
Open
8 8
47.5
 
80 7 16.4 1 2 2 2 1
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