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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 (Semifinals 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
26 39877 Mar 5, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
8 8
48.3
 
72 24 22.0 0 3 2 3 0
27 38404 Feb 21, 2005
Open
12 12
48.0
 
84 19 19.5 1 4 4 2 1
28 39140 Feb 27, 2007
Open
10 10
47.8
 
75 7 19.5 1 2 4 3 0
29 37663 Feb 11, 2003
Open
8 8
47.8
 
81 8 16.4 2 2 1 1 2
30 38419 Mar 8, 2005
Open
8 8
47.5
 
80 7 16.4 1 2 2 2 1
31 38041 Feb 24, 2004
Open
8 8
47.4
 
92 10 17.6 1 1 4 1 1
32 39497 Feb 19, 2008
1960s
12 12
47.3
 
82 17 17.6 2 4 2 3 1
33 41339 Mar 6, 2013
Open
10 10
47.2
 
76 8 19.4 1 2 5 2 0
34 40967 Feb 28, 2012
Open
13 13
47.0
 
79 7 20.3 1 4 5 3 0
35 41689 Feb 19, 2014
Open
10 10
46.8
 
73 6 19.4 1 3 2 4 0
36 38405 Feb 22, 2005
Open
12 12
46.7
 
87 13 18.8 1 5 2 2 2
37 41325 Feb 20, 2013
Open
10 10
46.5
 
78 8 14.9 1 4 2 3 0
38 41347 Mar 14, 2013
Open
2 2
46.5
 
47 46 19.5 0 0 2 0 0
39 37684 Mar 4, 2003
Open
9 9
46.3
 
90 17 15.7 1 3 2 1 2
40 39861 Feb 17, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
46.3
 
80 9 15.6 2 3 2 3 2
41 38048 Mar 2, 2004
Open
8 8
46.0
 
79 7 16.3 2 1 2 3 0
42 38769 Feb 21, 2006
Open
12 12
45.8
 
80 10 15.8 3 2 3 3 1
43 37670 Feb 18, 2003
Open
8 8
45.5
 
74 25 22.9 0 3 4 1 0
44 37656 Feb 4, 2003
Open
8 8
45.1
 
70 11 19.3 1 3 1 3 0
45 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
46 40969 Mar 1, 2012
Open
6 6
44.5
 
77 18 18.0 2 0 2 2 0
47 41688 Feb 18, 2014
Open
10 10
44.4
 
75 9 20.3 2 1 5 2 0
48 38055 Mar 9, 2004
Open
8 8
44.4
 
72 24 18.5 0 5 0 3 0
49 41333 Feb 28, 2013
Open
10 10
44.3
 
78 16 20.7 1 3 5 1 0
50 39869 Feb 25, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
43.6
 
84 4 19.8 2 4 3 2 1
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