The UK version of singing competition show The Voice premiered on Saturday night to strong ratings, but only beat Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent for 20 minutes. The Voice, airing on BBC1, drew an average 8.43 million viewers in its debut in the 7-8:20pm time slot. Britain’s Got Talent, over on ITV, nabbed an average 9.43 million pairs of eyeballs in the 8-9:20pm slot. When the two shows went head-to-head from 8-8:20pm, however, The Voice had a hard lead with an average of 8.96 million viewers compared to Britain’s Got Talent’s 6.56 million. Overall, Britain’s Got Talent had a 41.1% share; The Voice took a 37.6% share. Simon Cowell has returned to Britain’s Got Talent to give it a shot in the arm, but the launch numbers this year did not line up with 2011 when 9.9 million Brits tuned in. New judges alongside Cowell include comic actor David Walliams and singer Alesha Dixon. The Voice has singer Jessie J, hip hop artist Will.i.am and Welsh crooner Tom Jones. Last year, the BBC and ITV were locked in a bidding war for The Voice with BBC1 ultimately winning out. The two broadcasters have since waged a scheduling battle as ITV moved the return of Britain’s Got Talent to air on the same day as The Voice launch. Britain’s Got Talent usually debuts in April. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that a young woman has been charged with aggravated burglary after an alleged break-in at Cowell’s London home on Saturday night. She is due to appear in court today.

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