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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 40247 Mar 10, 2010
Billboard charts
8 8
49.5
 
80 21 23.3 0 2 3 2 1
2 37670 Feb 18, 2003
Open
8 8
45.5
 
74 25 22.9 0 3 4 1 0
3 41332 Feb 27, 2013
Open
10 10
50.5
 
81 26 22.7 0 3 3 3 1
4 39877 Mar 5, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
8 8
48.3
 
72 24 22.0 0 3 2 3 0
5 38027 Feb 10, 2004
Open
8 8
50.9
 
84 25 21.5 0 4 1 2 1
6 38412 Mar 1, 2005
Open
10 10
44.5
 
68 10 21.3 1 2 5 2 0
7 38411 Feb 28, 2005
Open
10 10
51.1
 
90 16 21.2 1 2 4 2 1
8 39512 Mar 5, 2008
1980s
8 8
51.9
 
80 26 20.9 0 1 5 1 1
9 41333 Feb 28, 2013
Open
10 10
44.3
 
78 16 20.7 1 3 5 1 0
10 40239 Mar 2, 2010
Billboard charts
10 10
43.4
 
70 15 20.4 1 3 3 3 0
11 40967 Feb 28, 2012
Open
13 13
47.0
 
79 7 20.3 1 4 5 3 0
12 41688 Feb 18, 2014
Open
10 10
44.4
 
75 9 20.3 2 1 5 2 0
13 37446 Jul 9, 2002
Open
5 5
49.0
 
65 31 20.2 0 1 2 2 0
14 38784 Mar 8, 2006
Open
8 8
49.8
 
80 24 19.9 0 3 2 2 1
15 39869 Feb 25, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
43.6
 
84 4 19.8 2 4 3 2 1
16 39875 Mar 3, 2009
Billboard Hot 100
12 12
51.8
 
84 12 19.6 2 2 2 5 1
17 38404 Feb 21, 2005
Open
12 12
48.0
 
84 19 19.5 1 4 4 2 1
18 39140 Feb 27, 2007
Open
10 10
47.8
 
75 7 19.5 1 2 4 3 0
19 39498 Feb 20, 2008
1960s
12 12
49.3
 
84 6 19.5 2 1 4 4 1
20 41347 Mar 14, 2013
Open
2 2
46.5
 
47 46 19.5 0 0 2 0 0
21 41339 Mar 6, 2013
Open
10 10
47.2
 
76 8 19.4 1 2 5 2 0
22 41689 Feb 19, 2014
Open
10 10
46.8
 
73 6 19.4 1 3 2 4 0
23 37656 Feb 4, 2003
Open
8 8
45.1
 
70 11 19.3 1 3 1 3 0
24 40233 Feb 24, 2010
Billboard charts
12 12
36.8
 
84 3 19.0 3 4 3 1 1
25 38405 Feb 22, 2005
Open
12 12
46.7
 
87 13 18.8 1 5 2 2 2
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