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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
1 37425 Jun 18, 2002
Open
10 10
41.4
 
86 9 18.1 3 1 4 1 1
2 37432 Jun 25, 2002
Open
10 10
41.0
 
84 15 17.4 3 2 2 2 1
3 37677 Feb 25, 2003
Open
8 8
40.5
 
81 2 13.1 3 0 3 1 1
4 38034 Feb 17, 2004
Open
8 8
31.5
 
61 6 14.0 3 1 3 1 0
5 38769 Feb 21, 2006
Open
12 12
45.8
 
80 10 15.8 3 2 3 3 1
6 39133 Feb 20, 2007
Open
12 12
39.3
 
79 12 18.3 3 5 1 3 0
7 40232 Feb 23, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
43.3
 
79 7 18.5 3 2 2 5 0
8 40233 Feb 24, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
36.8
 
84 3 19.0 3 4 3 1 1
9 40260 Mar 23, 2010
Billboard #1 Hits
11 11
41.0
 
85 2 16.0 3 1 5 1 1
10 37453 Jul 16, 2002
Motown
10 10
44.3
 
77 7 13.6 2 2 3 3 0
11 37460 Jul 23, 2002
1960s
8 8
47.8
 
89 10 15.1 2 0 4 0 2
12 37488 Aug 20, 2002
1980s & 1990s
4 8
54.5
 
82 17 21.0 2 0 1 4 1
13 37663 Feb 11, 2003
Open
8 8
47.8
 
81 8 16.4 2 2 1 1 2
14 37712 Apr 1, 2003
Disco
8 8
47.5
 
77 9 17.9 2 1 2 3 0
15 37719 Apr 8, 2003
Billboard #1 Hits
8 8
50.6
 
87 11 18.8 2 0 2 3 1
16 38048 Mar 2, 2004
Open
8 8
46.0
 
79 7 16.3 2 1 2 3 0
17 38083 Apr 6, 2004
Elton John
9 9
50.0
 
89 8 15.8 2 1 2 1 3
18 38118 May 11, 2004
Disco
4 8
47.5
 
81 9 14.1 2 0 2 3 1
19 38426 Mar 15, 2005
1960s
12 12
48.7
 
90 10 18.1 2 1 6 1 2
20 38447 Apr 5, 2005
Classic Musicals
9 9
47.7
 
71 11 16.1 2 1 2 4 0
21 38776 Feb 28, 2006
Open
10 10
41.6
 
70 7 16.7 2 2 4 2 0
22 38791 Mar 15, 2006
Stevie Wonder
12 12
48.8
 
84 14 17.0 2 3 2 3 2
23 38805 Mar 29, 2006
2000s
10 10
40.9
 
72 9 20.3 2 2 4 2 0
24 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
25 39141 Feb 28, 2007
Open
10 10
50.6
 
92 13 14.8 2 2 2 3 1
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