The Voice and Let It Shine draw level in battle for viewers
New Saturday night shows The Voice and Let It Shine kicked off on an almost even footing as an equal number of viewers tuned in to the launch programmes.
Both the ITV and BBC singing competitions - which overlapped for half an hour on the television schedule - peaked at just under seven million viewers
Let It Shine, which sees Take That star Gary Barlow on the hunt to fill the cast of a new musical, was watched by an average of 6.3 million, peaking at 6.9 million.
It claimed an average 29.9% share of viewers for its time slot after airing on BBC 1 at 7pm.
Starting an hour later on ITV, the new series of The Voice UK also peaked at 6.9 million, but brought in an average of 5.9 million viewers, counting for a total share of 27%.
Showing for the first time on the channel after switching from BBC, The Voice marked a boost for Saturday night ITV viewers, which last year brought in an average of 3.2 million viewers for the same slot.
But a number of people admitted they planned to switch from the BBC to ITV and watch both programmes.
Viewer Harry Maxwell tweeted: "Switching over to The Voice ... You could say Let It Shine set the Bar-low. #letitshine"
For the first round of auditions, Barlow, and fellow panellists Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp were joined by former Glee actress Amber Riley, who is now starring in the West End stage show of Dreamgirls, as a guest judge.
The programme also featured two other members of Take That, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, who chatted to the auditionees backstage.
The Voice, meanwhile, saw the return of Sir Tom Jones, who was axed by the BBC version of the show in 2015, joined by panellists Jennifer Hudson, Gavin Rossdale and Will.i.am as they judged a fresh generation of singing hopefuls.
:: Let It Shine will be broadcast every Saturday at 7pm on BBC1, The Voice UK will also return at 8pm on Saturday on ITV.