Entertainment & Arts

Britain's Got Talent triumphs over The Voice final for ratings

Britain's Got Talent judges Image copyright ITV
Image caption Britain's Got Talent judges Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon return for the 10th series of the show

The return of Britain's Got Talent was a ratings winner for ITV, scoring almost double the viewers as the final of The Voice on BBC One.

An average 8.1 million people tuned in to watch the TV talent search as it was broadcast, compared with an average 4.5 million who watched The Voice.

Viewing peaked at 9.6 million on ITV as 13-year-old Beau Dermott wowed the judges with her singing.

Some 6.1 million saw Kevin Simm crowned the winner of the BBC's singing show.

Despite winning the ratings battle on Saturday, the Britain's Got Talent opener received the lowest viewing figures of any launch show since its very first episode in 2007 when 4.9 million people tuned in.

Last year 10.1 million watched the launch, down from a high of 11.1 million in 2014.

Saturday's episode saw Dermott secure a standing ovation and the first Golden Buzzer from the judges - which gives her an automatic place in the live shows - following her rendition of Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Thirteen-year-old Beau Dermott secured the first Golden Buzzer from the judges, fast-tracking her to the live shows
Image copyright ITV
Image caption The judges were visibly horrified at Alexandr Magala's death defying sword swallowing act

After a slight fall in viewership for the following acts, audiences peaked again as 9.5 million watched Moldovan Alexandr Magala's sword swallowing act.

The judges and crowd screamed and covered their eyes as the 26-year-old slid upside-down a pole with the sword lodged in his mouth, coming to a stop an inch above the ground.

"I actually thought you were going to die," Simon Cowell admitted after the act was put through to the next round of the competition.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Alexandr Magala previously competed on America and Ukraine's Got Talent and won Russia's Got Talent in 2014

According to overnight figures, around 40% of all TV audiences were watching Britain's Got Talent between 19:00 BST and 20:20 BST.

When the programme finished, two million viewers switched over to The Voice for its final 40 minutes and to see the winner announced.

Simm, who was previously in the pop group Liberty X, beat runner-up Jolan to be crowned the last winner of the singing contest on BBC One before the show moves to ITV.

Although audience figures for the latest series of The Voice had started strongly with an average 7.9 million viewers, ratings steadily declined in past weeks with 4.5 million tuning into the semi-final last week.

The finale drew its lowest ever ratings, down from 6.3 million viewers who tuned in to watch it last year, and 6.6 million in 2014.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kevin Simm, who was mentored by coach Ricky Wilson, was previously in the pop group Liberty X

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