The BEST Episodes of American Idol

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Network: ABC (US)

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.

I Bet It'll Be Ruben! Or Clay!

#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!!!!

star 10.00
1 votes
New Orleans, Louisiana Auditions

#2 - New Orleans, Louisiana Auditions

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 25, 2005

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

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

#3 - Las Vegas, Nevada Auditions

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 26, 2005

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

star 10.00
1 votes
Directors: Nigel Lythgoe
Writers:
Cleveland, Ohio & Orlando, Florida Auditions

#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.

star 10.00
1 votes
Directors: Ken Warwick
Writers:
EL FINALE!

#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...

star 9.38
8 votes
Tonight Is The Night When 3 Become 2

#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?

star 9.00
1 votes
Three Do Two

#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.

star 8.50
4 votes
Two Finalists Compete

#8 - Two Finalists Compete

Season 13 - Episode 38 - Aired May 20, 2014

star 8.39
28 votes
Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood

#9 - Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood

Season 4 - Episode 41 - Aired May 24, 2005

The two perform tonight!

star 8.33
3 votes
Clash of the Titanic Egos

#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.

star 8.25
4 votes
3 Finalists Perform

#11 - 3 Finalists Perform

Season 13 - Episode 36 - Aired May 14, 2014

star 8.25
28 votes
Semifinalist Round, Part 1 -- Girls Perform

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

Season 12 - Episode 11 - Aired Feb 20, 2013

Ten female semifinalists perform in Las Vegas.

star 8.20
109 votes
Auditions #2

#13 - Auditions #2

Season 14 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 8, 2015

The auditions continue in Nashville and Kansas City.

star 8.16
58 votes
Winner Chosen

#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.

star 8.14
118 votes
Results Show (top 3)

#15 - Results Show (top 3)

Season 13 - Episode 37 - Aired May 15, 2014

star 8.11
56 votes
Winner Chosen

#16 - Winner Chosen

Season 13 - Episode 39 - Aired May 21, 2014

star 8.10
29 votes
Top 10 Perform -- Live

#17 - 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.

star 8.10
112 votes
American Dream

#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.

star 8.06
88 votes
Finalists Compete

#19 - Finalists Compete

Season 12 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 20, 2013

The top nine take on songs from The Beatles (John Lennon/Paul McCartney Songbook).

star 8.01
90 votes
The Bad, The Even Worse and The Ugly

#20 - 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.

star 8.00
6 votes
The Live Album!

#21 - 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.

star 8.00
7 votes
Here We Go Again

#22 - 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.

star 8.00
1 votes
Clay Aiken Returns

#23 - 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!!

star 8.00
1 votes
American Idol takes the auditions to the next level...Hollywood! (1)

#24 - 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.

star 8.00
3 votes
Directors: Bruce Gowers
Writers:
Hollywood Auditions Continue (2)

#25 - Hollywood Auditions Continue (2)

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 9, 2005

The Hollywood auditions continue as the contestants face the toughest audition of their careers. Each contestant hopes to be the next American Idol; however, more go home tonight! The judges continue to narrow the hopefuls down to the top singers, one of whom will be the next American Idol.

star 8.00
1 votes