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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
1 37705 Mar 25, 2003
Country Rock
10 10
46.7
 
80 28 22.7 0 5 3 1 1
2 39882 Mar 10, 2009
Michael Jackson
13 13
54.2
 
83 23 21.0 0 5 2 4 2
3 40618 Mar 16, 2011
Year You Were Born
12 12
45.9
 
78 14 19.7 1 5 2 4 0
4 41738 Apr 9, 2014
80's
8 12
47.0
 
85 22 19.3 0 5 3 3 1
5 37691 Mar 11, 2003
Motown
12 12
51.3
 
82 29 17.9 0 4 4 2 2
6 38062 Mar 16, 2004
Soul
12 12
53.8
 
87 6 17.0 1 4 2 1 4
7 39161 Mar 20, 2007
British Invasion
11 11
52.1
 
86 23 18.0 0 4 3 2 2
8 40681 May 18, 2011
Idols' / Jimmy's / Judges' Choice
3 9
53.2
 
85 30 21.7 0 4 2 2 1
9 40975 Mar 7, 2012
Stevie Wonder / Whitney Houston
13 13
55.8
 
92 20 16.8 0 4 3 4 2
10 41017 Apr 18, 2012
Now and Then
7 14
53.9
 
82 27 23.1 0 4 5 3 2
11 41024 Apr 25, 2012
Queen / Open
6 12
52.3
 
80 30 21.8 0 4 3 4 1
12 37467 Jul 30, 2002
1970s
7 7
50.4
 
76 29 19.1 0 3 1 3 0
13 37698 Mar 18, 2003
Movie Hits
11 11
53.6
 
90 19 13.5 1 3 2 2 3
14 38069 Mar 23, 2004
Country
11 11
50.5
 
89 17 18.7 1 3 2 3 2
15 38090 Apr 13, 2004
Movie Songs
8 8
56.4
 
94 22 16.8 0 3 2 1 2
16 38104 Apr 27, 2004
Gloria Estefan
6 6
43.3
 
72 8 16.5 1 3 0 2 0
17 38125 May 18, 2004
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
55.4
 
84 23 14.6 0 3 2 1 3
18 38440 Mar 29, 2005
1990s
10 10
48.6
 
83 12 18.4 1 3 2 3 1
19 38461 Apr 19, 2005
1970s Dance Music
7 7
50.7
 
88 34 22.3 0 3 2 1 1
20 38791 Mar 15, 2006
Stevie Wonder
12 12
48.8
 
84 14 17.0 2 3 2 3 2
21 38798 Mar 22, 2006
1950s
11 11
56.9
 
90 23 17.9 0 3 3 4 1
22 38846 May 9, 2006
Elvis Presley
4 8
53.3
 
86 21 20.6 0 3 1 2 2
23 39154 Mar 13, 2007
Diana Ross
12 12
45.8
 
85 8 15.2 2 3 4 1 2
24 39175 Apr 3, 2007
American Classics
9 9
51.3
 
86 24 19.6 0 3 4 1 1
25 39182 Apr 10, 2007
Latin
8 8
42.3
 
73 17 19.8 1 3 3 1 0
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