'Britain's Got Talent' Season Finale Ratings Down From Last Year

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The episode, marred by an egg-throwing incident, still became the highest-rated U.K. show of 2013.

LONDON -- The season finale of Simon Cowell's Britain’s Got Talent drew an average 11.1 million viewers Saturday night, becoming the highest-rated show of 2013 in the U.K., according to commercial network ITV.

The ratings were down, though, compared with last year when the season finale drew an average audience of 11.9 million and peak viewership of 13.8 million. However, this Saturday's figures were up from the final episode of the 2011 season.

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The average audience figures include viewers for the ITV1+1 channel, which airs the talent competition with an hour's delay.

The final episode of the seventh season peaked with an audience of 13.1 million, or a 57 percent share of viewers watching TV at the time. Its average audience amounted to a share of 51 percent.

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The audience crowned Hungarian shadow dance group Attraction the winners of BGT during Saturday's live episode, which was marred by an incident. A woman believed to be a former BGT contestant showed up on stage during one performance and started throwing eggs at the judges -- Cowell, singer Alesha Dixon, comedian David Walliams and actress Amanda Holden. Security staff then took her off the stage.

Meanwhile, some viewers had questioned the inclusion of the eight members of Attraction on the show, which highlights homegrown talent, since they are Hungarian. But the troupe's finale performance focused on British themes, using the patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory," the voice of Winston Churchill and a backdrop that included the Union Jack flag and the Queen.

Press reports quoted Cowell as defending the inclusion of Attraction and the audience's decision to crown them this year's winners. "It just shows that this country welcomes people from all over the world, and they loved this act," Cowell said.

Attraction beat out 14-year-old comic Jack Carroll, who uses his cerebral palsy in his act, with opera-singing brothers Richard and Adam Johnson coming in third, according to the voting results. The Johnsons' performance was the one interrupted by the egg-throwing incident.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai