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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
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 37663 Feb 11, 2003
Open
8 8
47.8
 
81 8 16.4 2 2 1 1 2
10 38048 Mar 2, 2004
Open
8 8
46.0
 
79 7 16.3 2 1 2 3 0
11 38776 Feb 28, 2006
Open
10 10
41.6
 
70 7 16.7 2 2 4 2 0
12 39134 Feb 21, 2007
Open
12 12
52.3
 
88 13 15.2 2 4 0 3 3
13 39141 Feb 28, 2007
Open
10 10
50.6
 
92 13 14.8 2 2 2 3 1
14 39497 Feb 19, 2008
1960s
12 12
47.3
 
82 17 17.6 2 4 2 3 1
15 39498 Feb 20, 2008
1960s
12 12
49.3
 
84 6 19.5 2 1 4 4 1
16 39505 Feb 27, 2008
1970s
10 10
40.3
 
83 5 16.6 2 4 2 0 2
17 39861 Feb 17, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
46.3
 
80 9 15.6 2 3 2 3 2
18 39869 Feb 25, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
43.6
 
84 4 19.8 2 4 3 2 1
19 39875 Mar 3, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
51.8
 
84 12 19.6 2 2 2 5 1
20 40604 Mar 2, 2011
Open
12 12
53.2
 
93 9 17.3 2 1 4 3 2
21 40968 Feb 29, 2012
Open
12 12
52.9
 
85 11 14.5 2 2 2 4 2
22 40969 Mar 1, 2012
Open
6 6
44.5
 
77 18 18.0 2 0 2 2 0
23 41688 Feb 18, 2014
Open
10 10
43.9
 
74 7 20.3 2 1 5 2 0
24 37656 Feb 4, 2003
Open
8 8
45.1
 
70 11 19.3 1 3 1 3 0
25 37684 Mar 4, 2003
Open
9 9
46.3
 
90 17 15.7 1 3 2 1 2
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