'The Voice UK' Third Season Opener Draws Higher Ratings

2012-35 BKLOT Abu Dhabi Kylie Minogue H

Kylie Minogue and Eminem will perform at the yasalam After-Race Concert in November.

The BBC singing competition drew 8.4 million viewers as it avoided big ITV competition and both fans and critics gave new coach Kylie Minogue positive reviews.

LONDON -- The third season opener of The Voice UK on Saturday night drew much stronger ratings than the second season debut in some good news for the BBC, which has been looking to bolster the show's performance.

The singing competition's January launch helps it avoid competition from ITV ratings hit Britain's Got Talent with Simon Cowell, which has managed to hold off The Voice UK after losing some ratings showdowns early in the BBC show's first season. The first two seasons of The Voice UK began around Easter.

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Fans and critics on Sunday also cited the addition of Kylie Minogue, one of two new Voice coaches, as a factor that helped boost the show's audience by more than 2 million viewers compared with its 2013 season launch. The other addition to the coaching lineup is Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson, who also got a good reception.

Minogue and Wilson replaced Jessie J and Danny O'Donoghue on the judging panel. Will.i.am and Tom Jones are the two stars who have remained in their Voice UK coaching roles.

The singing competition drew an average audience of 8.4 million in Britain on Saturday, compared with 6.2 million for the start of the 2013 season opener.

That meant that The Voice UK outperformed ITV celebrity diving show Splash! on Saturday night, which attracted an average audience of 3.7 million in the overnight ratings.

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The Voice UK had a strong start to its first season, but audience figures dropped after the audition rounds with the format's popular spinning chairs.

The BBC and show producers drew much attention in Britain when they announced the addition of Minogue, who has sold 65 million albums after getting her career start in Australian soap opera Neighbors.

The Voice UK executives flew Minogue to the U.S. with will.i.am to convince her in person, the Guardian reported.

The Voice format was developed by Dutch producer John de Mol's Talpa Media and is produced for the BBC by Wall to Wall Media.

Wall to Wall is part of Warner Bros.-controlled TV production and distribution firm Shed Media Group.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai