The BEST Episodes of American Idol
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Mar 18, 2021
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.
#1 - I Bet It'll Be Ruben! Or Clay!
Season 2 - Episode 39 - Aired May 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!!!!
#2 - New Orleans, Louisiana Auditions
Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 25, 2005
Continuing with the auditions for season 4 from New Orleans, Louisiana
#3 - Las Vegas, Nevada Auditions
Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 26, 2005
Continuing with the auditions for season 4 from Las Vegas, Nevada.
#4 - Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida Auditions
Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 1, 2005
Continuing the auditions for season 4 from Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida.
#5 - EL FINALE!
Season 1 - Episode 25 - Aired Sep 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...
#6 - Tonight Is The Night When 3 Become 2
Season 4 - Episode 40 - Aired May 18, 2005
Who did America choose for 2005's top two Idols?
#7 - Three Do Two
Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired Aug 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.
#8 - Two Finalists Compete
Season 13 - Episode 38 - Aired May 20, 2014
#9 - Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood
Season 4 - Episode 41 - Aired May 24, 2005
The two perform tonight!
#10 - Clash of the Titanic Egos
Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Jul 24, 2002
Last night, the Top 8 finalists performed hits from the 60's. Tonight, the show is live and the votes are in. Who will sing again next week and who will be sent home? The contestant receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated from the competition. Another dream is about to end. Find out who America voted for.
#11 - 3 Finalists Perform
Season 13 - Episode 36 - Aired May 14, 2014
#12 - Semifinalist Round, Part 1 -- Girls Perform
Season 12 - Episode 11 - Aired Feb 20, 2013
Ten female semifinalists perform in Las Vegas.
#13 - Auditions #2
Season 14 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 8, 2015
The auditions continue in Nashville and Kansas City.
#14 - Winner Chosen
Season 15 - Episode 24 - Aired Apr 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.
#15 - Results Show (top 3)
Season 13 - Episode 37 - Aired May 15, 2014
#16 - Top 10 Perform -- Live
Season 12 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 13, 2013
The top 10 finalists perform songs that have been performed by previous Idols.
#17 - Winner Chosen
Season 13 - Episode 39 - Aired May 21, 2014
#18 - American Dream
Season 15 - Episode 22 - Aired Apr 5, 2016
Current and former judges, contestants, and the behind-the-scenes team members share memories in a retrospective of the singing competition.
#19 - On with the Show: Top 20 Sing for Your Vote
Season 18 - Episode 13 - Aired Apr 26, 2020
Top 20 perform for a spot in the Top 10. The judges, host, in-house mentor, and contestants all participate from different locations.
#20 - Finalists Compete
Season 12 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 20, 2013
The top nine take on songs from The Beatles (John Lennon/Paul McCartney Songbook).
#21 - The Bad, The Even Worse and The Ugly
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Jul 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.
#22 - The Live Album!
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Jul 16, 2002
Live in Hollywood! They have a new set, full orchestral arrangements, and a live studio audience. The theme is Motown and performing tonight are Ryan Starr, R.J. Helton, Nikki McKibbin, Ejay Day, Tamyra Gray, Justin Guarini, Jim Verraros, Kelly Clarkson, A.J. Gil, and Christina Cristian.
#23 - Here We Go Again
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 11, 2003
Performers tonight: Clay Aiken, Candice Coleman, Rebecca Bond, Jacob John, Hadas, Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke, and Jennifer Fuentes.
#24 - Clay Aiken Returns
Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired Mar 17, 2004
Contestant finalists and contestants who will have to leave will be announced TONIGHT!! Who will win? La Toya? Fantasia? Jennifer, Jon Peter Lewis? NOBODY KNOWS!!
#25 - American Idol takes the auditions to the next level...Hollywood! (1)
Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 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.