THE BBC’s Saturday night talent contest, The Voice, came out on top over Simon Cowell’s TV rival Britain's Got Talent (BGT), weekend rating figures show.
The Voice averaged 9.6 million viewers against 7.6 million for BGT during the 20 minute window when the two programmes overlapped.
The Voice sees singers take part in blind auditions with judges Jessie J, Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Dubliner Danny O'Donoghue showing their approval for an act by swinging round in their chairs to catch a first glimpse.
An average of nine million viewers watched the show, or 39.3 per cent of audience share, compared to 9.9 million for BGT, or 39.9 per cent of audience share, excluding figures for + 1 viewing.
BGT was watched by a peak audience of 12.6 million, representing a 50 per cent share of viewing, ITV said. The Voice's peak was 2.4 million lower at 10.2 million.
Viewers posted various messages on Twitter over the weekend, welcoming the BBC’s new approach.
Sugababes singer Heidi Range wrote: “Just watched The Voice well worth the time. Not many things better for me than to see a singer really sing!”
Others also admitted preferring this to the “novelty acts” on Britain’s Got Talent. One, commenting on BGT, wrote on Twitter: “I’ve had enough already. This is so tacky !!!”.
A BBC insider said: “The Voice got over 2 million higher than them when we were up against each other and then they inherited a lot of our audience.
“BGT has been around for about six years so we are still slightly the underdog as we were when Strictly (Come Dancing) is up against The X Factor.