ITV’s new talent show The Masker Singer edged out the return of the BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in Saturday night’s TV ratings, overnight figures show.
The Masker Singer, which sees celebrities singing anonymously behind outlandish costumes, drew an average audience of 5.5 million viewers.
It went head-to-head with The Greatest Dancer, which attracted 3.2 million.
The second episode of The Masked Singer was shown on Sunday, when its figures dropped to 4.2 million.
Overnight figures count how many people watched the shows live and on ITV+1, before catch-up viewing is included.
The Masker Singer keeps the identities of its singing celebrities closely guarded secrets by disguising them as butterflies, octopuses, ducks and the like.
Judges Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora, Davina McCall and Ken Jeong have to guess who they are, based solely on their vocals and cryptic hints delivered in a distorted voice.
One contestant is unmasked at the end of every show, with former EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer and ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson revealed so far. The concept was brought to the UK after becoming a break-out hit in South Korea and the US.
Meanwhile, The Greatest Dancer returned for a second series, with US choreographer Todrick Hall joining fellow dance captains Cheryl, Matthew Morrison and Oti Mabuse.
Brilliant or stupid?
The critics have differed wildly in their reviews of The Masked Singer. The Radio Times gave the show five stars, describing it as “equal parts Stars in Their Eyes, Black Mirror and a hen do – but entirely brilliant”.
Kimberley Bond wrote: “Its twist on a tired genre shouldn’t really work, but The Masked Singer is utterly fun-filled and fantastic viewing for Saturday night.”
The Guardian, however, gave it one solitary star, with Jack Seale declaring it to be “so stupid it could actually kill off Saturday night”.
On Sunday, its second episode lost out to BBC One’s Call the Midwife, which was the most-viewed programme of the weekend by some distance, with an average of seven million viewers at 20:00 GMT.
Earlier on Sunday, the launch of the latest series of Dancing on Ice brought in an average audience of 5.1 million to ITV.
It saw the show’s first-ever same-sex dance, as Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins teamed up with professional skater Matt Evers.
Afterwards, Watkins tweeted that the dance was “a message of equality and inclusion”.