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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
76 41003 Apr 4, 2012
1980s
8 12
54.3
 
78 32 20.8 0 2 5 5 0
77 41051 May 22, 2012
Finale
2 6
52.5
 
84 24 19.3 0 2 2 1 1
78 41346 Mar 13, 2013
Music of the American Idols
10 10
52.1
 
89 22 15.6 0 2 4 3 1
79 41360 Mar 27, 2013
Detroit
8 11
51.0
 
81 6 19.3 1 2 4 3 1
80 41374 Apr 10, 2013
Burt Bacharach / Wish You Wrote
6 12
53.4
 
96 2 15.1 1 2 3 4 2
81 41388 Apr 24, 2013
Open / One-Hit Wonders
4 10
52.6
 
79 27 21.2 0 2 4 4 0
82 41717 Mar 19, 2014
Billboard Top 10
10 10
47.7
 
80 18 18.2 1 2 5 1 1
83 41724 Mar 26, 2014
I'm With The Band
9 9
56.6
 
88 33 20.0 0 2 3 3 1
84 37474 Aug 6, 2002
Big Band
6 6
64.5
 
95 36 14.5 0 1 2 1 2
85 37495 Aug 27, 2002
Idol's Choice / Judge's Choice
3 6
58.8
 
82 36 23.3 0 1 3 1 1
86 37712 Apr 1, 2003
Disco
8 8
47.5
 
77 9 17.9 2 1 2 3 0
87 37726 Apr 15, 2003
Billy Joel
7 7
54.3
 
91 8 14.9 1 1 2 2 1
88 37733 Apr 22, 2003
Diane Warren Songs
6 6
48.0
 
73 14 14.3 1 1 2 2 0
89 37740 Apr 29, 2003
1960s / Neil Sedaka
5 10
60.6
 
93 15 15.2 1 1 3 2 3
90 38083 Apr 6, 2004
Elton John
9 9
50.0
 
89 8 15.8 2 1 2 1 3
91 38097 Apr 20, 2004
Barry Manilow
7 7
52.3
 
78 18 21.0 1 1 3 2 0
92 38426 Mar 15, 2005
1960s
12 12
48.7
 
90 10 18.1 2 1 6 1 2
93 38433 Mar 22, 2005
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
52.9
 
89 7 19.8 1 1 5 3 1
94 38447 Apr 5, 2005
Classic Musicals
9 9
47.7
 
71 11 16.1 2 1 2 4 0
95 38454 Apr 12, 2005
Year You Were Born
8 8
51.4
 
90 19 20.6 1 1 4 1 1
96 38468 Apr 26, 2005
2000s
6 6
49.5
 
82 17 19.3 1 1 2 1 1
97 38489 May 17, 2005
Idol's / Clive's / Judge's
3 9
58.1
 
94 33 16.0 0 1 5 1 2
98 38811 Apr 4, 2006
Country
9 9
46.9
 
71 17 22.0 1 1 4 3 0
99 38818 Apr 11, 2006
Queen
8 8
50.0
 
68 12 23.4 1 1 3 3 0
100 38832 Apr 25, 2006
Love Songs
6 6
51.5
 
88 5 15.8 1 1 2 1 1
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