Cowell gives grudging congratulations to 'The Voice'

Simon Cowell has congratulated the BBC after 'The Voice' claimed victory against 'Britain’s Got Talent' in the UK television ratings war this weekend.

The BGT supremo showed his humble side by taking to Twitter to praise the BBC1 controller Danny Cohen and the rival singing show, which averaged around 400,000 more viewers on Saturday.

An average of 9.5 million viewers watched 'The Voice' compared to 9.1 million for BGT, according to statistics from the two broadcasters.

The BBC’s new singing competition also had a bigger share of the audience at 41.1% when it aired between 7pm and 8.20pm. ITV’s talent show pulled in 37.3% when it was broadcast between 8pm and 9.15pm.

In a light-hearted tweet referring to Pudsey the dancing dog that appeared on Saturday night’s BGT, Cowell said: “A slightly irritated congrats to Danny and the BBC. But you didn’t have a dancing dog!”

He added: “I thought our team made a fantastic show last night and congrats to them as well. Loving the show this year.”

The music mogul, 52, has reportedly told BGT producers to raise their game following the ratings defeat.

ITV said Saturday’s BGT was watched by a peak audience of 11.9 million – 11.3 million excluding the channel’s +1 strand – representing a 47% share of viewing.

The Voice’s peak was lower at 10.7 million but the BBC said it had won “by a massive margin” in the 20-minute crossover after 8pm when the two shows go head-to-head.

During this period, 'The Voice' averaged 10 million against 6.2 million for BGT, the corporation said.

The 10.7 million figure represents a half million increase on last week’s peak.

'The Voice' sees singers take part in blind auditions with judges Jessie J, Tom Jones, Will.i.am and Danny O’Donoghue showing their approval for an act by swinging round in their chairs to catch a first glimpse.

Former 'X Factor' judge Cheryl Cole also took to Twitter to praise the new programme – but failed to mention BGT despite being a friend of Cowell.

Referring to her other close friend Will.I.am, she tweeted: “He is so cheeky and mischievous! I love his and Jessie’s banter.”

One of the show’s contestants is aristocrat Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce, the 27-year-old daughter of the Earl of Cardigan.

The singer, who performs under the stage name Bo Bruce, has spoken of how she battled drink and drugs as a teenager and now struggles to pay bills.

Meanwhile, BGT musician Analiza Ching, who has posed nude with her violin, defended the risque photo shoot.

“I just wanted to try something different and I really don’t think anyone should be shy about their own body,” she told The Mail on Sunday.

“We are all human at the end of the day.”

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