The Voice attracted an average audience of 10.7 million viewers (a 46 per cent share) last night between 7pm and 8:20pm on BBC1 and BBC1 HD, its largest numbers so far.
The singing show added a further 1.2 million viewers from the previous week and has increased its audience by 2.3 million from the opening show, watched by 8.4 million viewers.
Britain's Got Talent could only manage 9.6 million viewers (a 35 per cent share) on ITV1 and ITV1 HD between 8pm and 9:15pm. A further 500,000 people tuned in an hour later to see Simon Cowell's talent show on ITV1 +1.
In the 20-minute period where the shows overlapped, The Voice once again easily outdid its talent show rival. The BBC programme averaged 11.8m viewers between 8pm and 8:20pm, more than double the 5.8 million that BGT could muster in the same period.
The Voice audience peaked at 12.1 million viewers in the final section of the show as the coaches finalised their teams of 10 ahead of next weekend’s “battle rounds” double bill on Saturday and Sunday night. BGT peaked slightly higher, with 12.2 million viewers on ITV1 and ITV1 HD.
On Wednesday ITV moved BGT to avoid a clash with The Voice next Saturday night, a decision that looks very sensible considering the huge growth in the BBC show's audience in the past month.
With the most novel element of The Voice, the “blind auditions”, now over it will be interesting to see whether the audiences continue to stay wed to the friendly BBC show once the more aggressive “battle rounds” element is introduced. Equally, will the six live finals, which despite retaining a team element are very close to The X Factor in format, continue to enthuse punters – or will they begin to suffer from 'seen-it-before' talent show fatigue?
However, even if the ratings have peaked at this stage (which seems unlikely to be the case), Danny Cohen and the BBC will be more than happy that their £22 million gamble on a bought-in format has paid off. Mr Cowell, on the other hand, will surely be continuing to worry.