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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 38791 Mar 15, 2006
Stevie Wonder
12 12
48.8
 
84 14 17.0 2 3 2 3 2
127 39897 Mar 25, 2009
Motown
10 10
52.0
 
87 14 17.2 2 1 3 2 2
128 40246 Mar 9, 2010
Billboard charts
8 8
51.8
 
90 14 13.3 1 2 2 2 1
129 40281 Apr 13, 2010
Elvis Presley
9 9
53.3
 
81 14 19.1 1 0 5 2 1
130 40618 Mar 16, 2011
Year You Were Born
12 12
45.9
 
78 14 19.7 1 5 2 4 0
131 38405 Feb 22, 2005
Open
12 12
46.7
 
87 13 18.8 1 5 2 2 2
132 38475 May 3, 2005
Lieber & Stoller / This Week
5 10
52.8
 
89 13 18.8 1 2 3 2 2
133 38860 May 23, 2006
Finale
2 6
49.8
 
77 13 12.5 1 1 2 2 0
134 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
135 39141 Feb 28, 2007
Open
10 10
50.6
 
92 13 14.8 2 2 2 3 1
136 41353 Mar 20, 2013
The Beatles
9 9
53.3
 
78 13 17.9 1 1 3 4 0
137 41367 Apr 3, 2013
Rock - No Ballads
7 10
48.0
 
71 13 18.5 1 3 2 4 0
138 38440 Mar 29, 2005
1990s
10 10
48.6
 
83 12 18.4 1 3 2 3 1
139 38783 Mar 7, 2006
Open
8 8
50.4
 
87 12 18.5 1 1 4 1 1
140 38818 Apr 11, 2006
Queen
8 8
50.0
 
68 12 23.4 1 1 3 3 0
141 39133 Feb 20, 2007
Open
12 12
39.3
 
79 12 18.3 3 5 1 3 0
142 39511 Mar 4, 2008
1980s
8 8
56.8
 
90 12 15.9 1 1 2 2 2
143 39560 Apr 22, 2008
Andrew Lloyd Webber
6 6
53.2
 
87 12 16.2 2 0 1 2 1
144 39875 Mar 3, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
51.8
 
84 12 19.6 2 2 2 5 1
145 41326 Feb 21, 2013
Open
10 10
39.8
 
68 12 18.4 1 4 3 2 0
146 37656 Feb 4, 2003
Open
8 8
45.1
 
70 11 19.3 1 3 1 3 0
147 37719 Apr 8, 2003
Billboard #1 Hits
8 8
50.6
 
87 11 18.8 2 0 2 3 1
148 38447 Apr 5, 2005
Classic Musicals
9 9
47.7
 
71 11 16.1 2 1 2 4 0
149 40968 Feb 29, 2012
Open
12 12
52.9
 
85 11 14.5 2 2 2 4 2
150 41731 Apr 2, 2014
Audition Songs
8 12
55.2
 
87 11 18.6 2 0 3 5 2
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