'The Voice UK' coaches have been told to toughen up after losing the ratings battle to 'Britain's Got Talent' on Saturday night.
Tom Jones, Jessie J, will.i.am and Danny O'Donoghue have been instructed by bosses of the BBC One show – which saw Ruth-Ann St Luce and Hannah Berney axed last night – to be "meaner" as the programme was down one million viewers on last week, leaving Simon Cowell's rival ITV1 series nearly two million ahead.
An insider told The Sun newspaper: “'The Voice' originally sold itself as being the ‘nice’ talent show and viewers loved that when it was coupled with the drama of the spinning chairs during the blind auditions. But once the show moved into its live stage, a lot of viewers have tired of it and criticised the coaches for being too nice to singers who just aren’t that great.
“Bosses have now told them to toughen up, be meaner and to really speak their minds — even if it means upsetting people. The coaches made progress on Saturday but there is still a long way to go.”
Bosses of 'The Voice' – which peaked at 9.1 million viewers on Saturday night - are also planning to axe four acts each week instead of two in order to increase the pace of the show.
'BGT' peaked at 11 million on Saturday, and the talent-search programme – which saw dog act Pudsey and his owner Ashleigh progress to the final alongside Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud - also attracted the highest average viewership with 9.5 million tuning in compared to 'The Voice's 8.2 million.
After being ousted from the BBC One series, Ruth-Ann blasted the programme by claiming unfair editing was the main reason for her departure and fellow axed contestant Hannah also slammed coach Jessie for criticising the dancers who performed while she sang.
Meanwhile, 'Britain's Got Talent' judges Simon, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Amanda Holden were wowed by Only Boys Aloud and Pudsey, while The Mend narrowly missed out on place in the final after being voted off by the public despite going to deadlock.
Singing duo Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli will compete against eight other acts including Paige Turley and The Showbears in tonight's'Britain's Got Talent' second live semi-final on TV3 at 7.30pm.