Rare low point ... Yshrael Pascual and Chris Sebastian underwhelmed with their rendition of Katy Perry's Firework last night.

Rare low point ... Yshrael Pascual and Chris Sebastian underwhelmed with their rendition of Katy Perry's Firework last night. Photo: Channel Nine

As Nine's reality singing contest The Voice wrapped its first week of duelling duets last night with another solid ratings performance, an examination of audience figures for the series' fourth episode suggests it could be on track to hit a new ratings high.

Last night's episode was watched by an average 2.26 million viewers across the five mainland capitals, acording to OzTam's preliminary overnight figures. This is the measurement most frequently cited in mainstream media reporting. That was the lowest figure since debut, when it attracted an average 2.18 million viewers in the capital cities.

When regional audiences for last night's episode are factored in, the average audience rose to 2.99 million.

If the experience of the fourth episode is indicative, however, those numbers will grow over the next week as consolidated viewing figures and encore screenings boost the show's reach. (Encore screenings do not add numbers to the initial show's ratings, but they do add viewers in pure terms.)

Episode four, which aired on Sunday April 22, was watched at least in part by almost one in four Australians. Over its entire two-hour-plus running time, it held the attention of one in six.

On its first screening the episode was watched by an average of 2.7 million people in the five mainland capitals on the night. A further 111,000 people watched it on delay via personal video recorders over the following seven days, for a consolidated audience of 2.81 million.

The episode was also watched by 1.08 million viewers in regional Australia (overnight figures only), for a total average audience of approximately 3.89 million viewers. Consolidated figures for regional viewers were not available at press time.

Nine claims that at the peak of the April 22 broadcast, the episode was watched by more than 4.9 million people.

Those figures are remarkable enough, but an encore screening of episode 4 on Saturday April 28 attracted an average 582,000 viewers, and a peak of 776,000. Even assuming many of those were repeat viewers, it is highly likely that the unique average audience for the episode across the week was well in excess of 4 million. Many others have watched part or all of the show on catch-up online.

Those figures are further evidence that The Voice has clicked with Australian viewers to a degree few programs ever do. Reality shows with a competitive element tend to build as the series progresses, but The Voice has already hit levels in line with high-rating finales.

In 2010, the finale of the second season of MasterChef became the third-highest rating program, and the most-watched non-sporting program, since OzTam began collecting ratings data in 2001. The "winner announced" segment of the program was watched by an average 5.21 million Australians across its 20 minutes, while the consolidated average audience for the main part of the show was 4.64 million.

It's early days yet, but if The Voice continues to hit the high notes it has so far, it could be on song for a new record by season's end.

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