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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 (Finals only)

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# Date Episode / Theme #Cn #Pf Average Rating Hi Lo σ 0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79 80-100
101 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
102 39889 Mar 17, 2009
Grand Ole Opry
11 11
55.4
 
86 25 21.1 0 3 4 2 2
103 39924 Apr 21, 2009
Disco
7 7
57.6
 
86 27 18.6 0 1 3 2 1
104 39931 Apr 28, 2009
Rat Pack Standards
5 5
62.8
 
76 43 22.4 0 0 2 3 0
105 39945 May 12, 2009
Judges' Choice / Idol's Choice
3 6
53.7
 
87 28 20.7 0 1 3 1 1
106 39952 May 19, 2009
Finale
2 6
56.7
 
90 24 17.8 0 2 1 1 2
107 40274 Apr 6, 2010
Lennon-McCartney
9 9
60.1
 
89 33 19.2 0 2 3 2 2
108 40288 Apr 20, 2010
Inspirational (Idol Gives Back)
7 7
52.0
 
88 31 20.9 0 3 1 2 1
109 40295 Apr 27, 2010
Shania Twain
6 6
51.2
 
77 40 25.0 0 0 5 1 0
110 40302 May 4, 2010
Frank Sinatra
5 5
48.4
 
71 22 18.6 0 2 1 2 0
111 40309 May 11, 2010
Songs From the Movies
4 6
51.5
 
77 21 21.3 0 2 1 3 0
112 40323 May 25, 2010
Finale
2 6
57.0
 
89 26 18.8 0 1 3 1 1
113 40611 Mar 9, 2011
Personal Idol
13 13
51.6
 
84 24 20.3 0 3 6 3 1
114 40625 Mar 23, 2011
Motown
11 11
56.8
 
84 29 22.3 0 2 4 4 1
115 40632 Mar 30, 2011
Elton John
11 11
56.0
 
81 21 21.4 0 2 4 4 1
116 40639 Apr 6, 2011
Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
9 9
60.8
 
86 33 20.9 0 1 3 4 1
117 40653 Apr 20, 2011
21st Century
7 7
51.6
 
77 27 22.1 0 3 1 3 0
118 40660 Apr 27, 2011
Carole King
6 9
55.4
 
92 23 20.7 0 3 2 1 3
119 40674 May 11, 2011
Inspirational Songs / Lieber & Stoller
4 8
58.0
 
85 34 20.5 0 2 2 3 1
120 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
121 40687 May 24, 2011
Finale
2 6
51.3
 
74 25 20.5 0 2 2 2 0
122 40975 Mar 7, 2012
Stevie Wonder / Whitney Houston
13 13
55.8
 
92 20 16.8 0 4 3 4 2
123 40989 Mar 21, 2012
Billy Joel
10 10
56.8
 
87 24 18.9 0 2 3 4 1
124 40996 Mar 28, 2012
Personal Idol
9 9
64.7
 
93 45 19.9 0 0 4 3 2
125 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
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