The BEST episodes of American Idol

Every episode of American Idol ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of American Idol!

The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.

Last Updated: 1/21/2023Network:ABC (US)
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New Orleans, Louisiana Auditions
star
10.00
1 votes

#1 - New Orleans, Louisiana Auditions

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired 1/25/2005

Continuing with the auditions for season 4 from New Orleans, Louisiana

Directors: Ken Warwick
I Bet It'll Be Ruben! Or Clay!
star
10.00
1 votes

#2 - I Bet It'll Be Ruben! Or Clay!

Season 2 - Episode 39 - Aired 5/21/2003

In the two hour season 2 finale there are many special performances and then the big announcement every is waiting for. The winner of American Idol Season 2 is........ RUBEN STUDDARD!!!!

Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida Auditions
star
10.00
1 votes

#3 - Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida Auditions

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired 2/1/2005

Continuing the auditions for season 4 from Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida.

Directors: Ken Warwick
Las Vegas, Nevada Auditions
star
10.00
1 votes

#4 - Las Vegas, Nevada Auditions

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired 1/26/2005

Continuing with the auditions for season 4 from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Directors: Nigel Lythgoe
EL FINALE!
star
9.40
5 votes

#5 - EL FINALE!

Season 1 - Episode 25 - Aired 9/4/2002

The episode begins as usual, with the whole thing starting. They go behind the scenes for the first hour and the final 10 come back, sing for about half an hour, and then the question on everyone's mind since the series began, who is the american idol? And the winner is...

Tonight Is The Night When 3 Become 2
star
9.00
1 votes

#6 - Tonight Is The Night When 3 Become 2

Season 4 - Episode 40 - Aired 5/18/2005

Who did America choose for 2005's top two Idols?

American Idol takes the auditions to the next level...Hollywood! (1)
star
9.00
2 votes

#7 - American Idol takes the auditions to the next level...Hollywood! (1)

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired 2/8/2005

American Idol travels to Hollywood with nearly 200 contestants from the seven audition cities, each contestant hoping to be one of the 24 chosen to continue on the show.

Directors: Bruce Gowers
Two Finalists Compete
star
8.52
21 votes

#8 - Two Finalists Compete

Season 13 - Episode 38 - Aired 5/20/2014

Watch Now:Amazon
Three Do Two
star
8.33
3 votes

#9 - Three Do Two

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired 8/27/2002

Tonight the Top 3 will each perform two songs live for the nation, vying for the American Idol title. The contestants will give it their all in hopes of winning America's vote and surviving one last week. Who will play it safe and who will take the big risk? Their fate rests in your hands. Tonight the contestants sing a song of their choice and a song the judges picked for them. Performing tonight are Justin Guarini, Kelly Clarkson, and Nikki McKibbin.

Watch Now:Amazon
Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood
star
8.33
3 votes

#10 - Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood

Season 4 - Episode 41 - Aired 5/24/2005

The two perform tonight!

3 Finalists Perform
star
8.26
23 votes

#11 - 3 Finalists Perform

Season 13 - Episode 36 - Aired 5/14/2014

The Bad, The Even Worse and The Ugly
star
8.25
4 votes

#12 - The Bad, The Even Worse and The Ugly

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired 7/2/2002

They sing. You vote. You decide. Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest host as Group Three performs for America. The fate of the last 10 hopefuls rests in America's hands as only the Top 3 contestants move on. Performing tonight are R.J. Helton, Kristin Holt, Mark Scott, Nikki McKibbin, Chris Badono, Melanie Sanders, Ejay Day, Tanesha Ross, Khaleef Chiles, and Christina Cristian.

Semifinalist Round, Part 1 -- Girls Perform
star
8.20
103 votes

#13 - Semifinalist Round, Part 1 -- Girls Perform

Season 12 - Episode 11 - Aired 2/20/2013

Ten female semifinalists perform in Las Vegas.

Auditions #2
star
8.18
56 votes

#14 - Auditions #2

Season 14 - Episode 2 - Aired 1/8/2015

The auditions continue in Nashville and Kansas City.

Watch Now:Amazon
Winner Chosen
star
8.17
104 votes

#15 - Winner Chosen

Season 15 - Episode 24 - Aired 4/7/2016

After 15 seasons of epic performances, star power and incredible moments, the final American Idol will be crowned and the farewell celebration will continue, as Idol pays tribute to the amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who called, tweeted, texted, and championed their Idols throughout the series' groundbreaking run. Don't miss the history-making final moments of the farewell season as the last winner is announced.

Top 10 Perform -- Live
star
8.17
107 votes

#16 - Top 10 Perform -- Live

Season 12 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/13/2013

The top 10 finalists perform songs that have been performed by previous Idols.

Results Show (top 3)
star
8.02
51 votes

#17 - Results Show (top 3)

Season 13 - Episode 37 - Aired 5/15/2014

Watch Now:Amazon
8 Finalists Perform (again)
star
8.00
26 votes

#18 - 8 Finalists Perform (again)

Season 13 - Episode 26 - Aired 4/9/2014

Start It Up!
star
8.00
2 votes

#19 - Start It Up!

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/21/2003

The audition stops for this episode & the number of people there & the number of people going to Hollywood: 9,000 in New York with 35 going to Hollywood; 6,000 in Miami with 20 going to Hollywood; 6,000 in Austin with 36 going to Hollywood.

Watch Now:Amazon
Find Out Who's Been Eliminated From The Final 4
star
8.00
1 votes

#20 - Find Out Who's Been Eliminated From The Final 4

Season 4 - Episode 38 - Aired 5/11/2005

Last night, the Final 4 sang their hearts out in hopes of winning America over. Find out tonight LIVE who will survive and who will be sent home. The contestant who received the fewest votes will be eliminated from the race for the coveted crown.

Top 10 Perform Live
star
8.00
1 votes

#21 - Top 10 Perform Live

Season 4 - Episode 25 - Aired 3/29/2005

The Top 10 finalists will perform LIVE for the nation, vying for the American Idol crown. The contestants will sing their hearts out in hopes of winning America's vote and surviving another week in the competition. Tonights theme: Songs from the 90's. Performing tonight: Anthony Fedorov, Anwar Robinson, Constantine Maroulis, Harold "Bo" Bice, Nikko Smith, Scott Savol, Carrie Underwood, Jessica Sierra, Nadia Turner, and Vonzell Solomon.

Directors: Bruce Gowers
It's Down To The Top 10
star
8.00
1 votes

#22 - It's Down To The Top 10

Season 4 - Episode 24 - Aired 3/24/2005

Tuesday & last night, American Idol's Top 11 sang their hearts out in hopes of winning America over. Find out tonight LIVE who will survive and who will be sent home. The contestant who received the fewest votes will be eliminated from the race for the American Idol title.

Watch Now:Amazon
Top 11 Finalists Re-Vote
star
8.00
1 votes

#23 - Top 11 Finalists Re-Vote

Season 4 - Episode 23 - Aired 3/23/2005

American Idol's Top 11 finalists return for a special live episode to allow for voting to take place again. (A graphics glitch in Tuesday's show may have caused confusion in the voting process.) The 11 contestants' performances will be repeated during this LIVE hour. Voting will take place for two hours following the end of the telecast in each time zone. Only these voting results, not Tuesday's, will determine who will survive another week in the competition and who will go home. Tune in to see who impresses the judges and who buckles under the pressure on Wednesday, March 23 Tonight's theme: Billboard top 100 hits. Performing tonight: Anthony Fedorov, Anwar Robinson, Constantine Maroulis, Harold "Bo" Bice, Nikko Smith, Scott Savol, Carrie Underwood, Jessica Sierra, Mikalah Gordon, Nadia Turner, and Vonzell Solomon.

American Idol's Top 11 Perform
star
8.00
1 votes

#24 - American Idol's Top 11 Perform

Season 4 - Episode 22 - Aired 3/22/2005

The Top 11 finalists will perform LIVE for the nation, vying for the American Idol crown. The contestants will sing their hearts out in hopes of winning America's vote and surviving another week in the competition. Tonight's theme: Billboard top 100 hits Performing tonight: Anthony Fedorov, Anwar Robinson, Constantine Maroulis, Harold "Bo" Bice, Nikko Smith, Scott Savol, Carrie Underwood, Jessica Sierra, Mikalah Gordon, Nadia Turner, and Vonzell Solomon.

Directors: Bruce Gowers
Watch Now:Amazon
One Must Go Home Tonight!
star
8.00
1 votes

#25 - One Must Go Home Tonight!

Season 4 - Episode 21 - Aired 3/16/2005

Last night, American Idol's Top 12 sang their hearts out in hopes of winning America over. Find out tonight LIVE who will survive and who will be sent home. The lowest vote-getter will be the first contestant from the Top 12 eliminated from this season's race for the American Idol title.

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