LONDON - Simon Cowell's Britain’s Got Talent once again led the Saturday night ratings in the U.K. as the ITV talent show and The Voice UK on the BBC both grew their audiences.
BGT drew an average audience of 10.1 million viewers, up by half a million from the previous weekend. The fourth episode of the seventh season of the talent show peaked with 11.3 million viewers late in its 7:15-8:15pm time slot.
Meanwhile, The Voice UK equaled a previous season high with an average of 7.9 million viewers for the sixth episode, which covered the final blind auditions, of its second season. The show peaked at 9.8 million viewers.
A week earlier, BGT had seen a drop in its average viewership to 9.6 million, including viewers of a rerun on a catch-up channel that started right after the show's first airing. The Voice UK last week had attracted an average of 7.7 million viewers.
In its first two weeks, BGT was the only show on British TV this year to break the 10 million mark.
The two talent shows have been in one of the most closely watched TV ratings showdowns in Britain since The Voice in its first season last year beat BGT for several weeks in a row.
Next weekend, The Voice will offer two weekend shows for the start of the show's battle rounds.
Meanwhile, BGT judge Amanda Holden has criticized the ratings battle between the two big Saturday night shows.
"It’s not fair on the British public, I think, to put two shows up against each other, because there’s room for everybody and it just dilutes entertainment,” she told the Sunday Express. "They’re doing a good job on The Voice, and obviously there’s going to be a war, but not between us personally. It’s just a silly entertainment ratings thing really, isn’t it? It’s a bit of pantomime, it’s not real.”
She also lauded the BBC for recently moving The Voice to a later time slot to reduce the overlap with BGT.
In addition to Cowell and Holden, the BGT judges are Alesha Dixon and comedian David Walliams. The Voice UK coaches are Jessie J, will.i.am, Tom Jones and Danny O’Donoghue.