Viewers took to social media to express their outrage at the BBC talent competition, claiming the show was "going for looks not ability".
Let It Shine sees Gary – along with Dannii Minogue, Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp and guest judge Lulu – searching for talented youngsters to star in a musical based on the story of Take That.
Those at home accused the panel of picking the better-looking hopefuls over those with the better singing voices as they selected the 25 prospective boy band members going through to the live finals.
"Let It Shine has come down to a competition based on looks, so disappointing," said one person on Twitter.
Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue, Martin Kemp and Lula picked 25 contestants to go through to live finals
Anthony Sahota was picked to make it through to the Let It Shine live shows
Theatre talent shows through the years
Wed, November 16, 2016
As Gary Barlow launches new talent show 'Let it Shine' to find the stars of a Take That musical, we look at the successful musical theatre talent shows of the past.
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Let it Shine – The new BBC show will see Gary Barlow looking for five young men to star in a new Take That musical
Another agreed: "Clearly going for looks not ability in #LetItShine."
"#LetItShine is 'let us down' today. Looks prioritised over ability. Disappointed," added one angry fan.
A spokesperson for the BBC told express.co.uk: "These claims are nonsense and the finalists were selected on merit."
Many fans also prasied the show's decisions, with one person saying: "Spent the whole programme waiting for Bradley yippee he made it thorugh!"
Another said: "The groups are looking fantastic #LetItShine can't wait for the live shows."
Julius Wright was one of the boys put through to the Let It Shine live shows
Let It Shine judges also chose Curtis T Johns to make it through
Last night, hopefuls performed in groups along with a few famous faces, including X Factor star Olly Murs, Beverly Knight, Busted, Kaiser Chiefs and ex-Spice Girl Mel C.
The episode had plenty of drama: host Graham Norton called out for a medic after one of the contestants fell ill and it was also revealed that Welsh singer Callum Howells had quit the show having landed himself a different role in the West End.
The 17-year-old is reported to have chosen to drop out before the live shows in order to perform as Arpad Lazlo in She Loves Me.
Next week will see the contestants battle it out live for the first time, as the show progresses from the group stage to The Battle of the Bands.
Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for the BBC asking for comment.
Let It Shine continues next Saturday at 6.55pm on BBC One.