Niall Horan Met Blake Shelton On The Voice. Now He's Sharing The Sweet Bond They've Developed During His Final Season

Niall Horan and Blake Shelton on The Voice.
(Image credit: NBC)

With Blake Shelton embarking on his final season as a coach on The Voice, the show is really playing up his rivalry with Kelly Clarkson. The two were taking jabs at each other before the season even started, and the intensity only increased during the first two episodes of Blind Auditions. However, a new, unexpected dynamic has deveoped on the coaching panel. Niall Horan has emerged as not only a worthy competitor in his rookie season, but he’s formed a strong father/son bond with Shelton that’s already having an impact on the show.

One Direction singer Niall Horan joined The Voice for Season 23, along with Chance the Rapper. Ahead of the season premiere Horan was already talking up how much Blake Shelton has helped him on the show — including the “terrible” parts — telling NBC Insider that the longtime coach was “like a dad to me.” He repeated the sentiment when talking to Audacy Check In, saying: 

He’s an absolute legend. I’d never met the guy, and Day 1, he couldn’t have made me feel any more welcome. We’re pretty much the same person. We just have such a laugh down there. I get along with everyone, but him especially. He’s like my dad. He’s going around telling everyone I’m his son.

Viewers got to see that first-hand in the opening episodes of Season 23. It seems Blake Shelton and Niall Horan almost exclusively call each other “dad” and “son,” and both parties have floated the idea of the “Slow Hands” singer taking the veteran’s place when his reign comes to an end


How To Watch The Voice

When To Watch: The Voice airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays and 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays 

Where To Watch: NBC, Peacock

More info on Primetime: Stay up to date with all of the upcoming premieres with our 2023 TV schedule.

In fact, after Niall Horan secured artist Ross Clayton for his team by pranking the other coaches and turning their chairs back around, Blake Shelton seemed to give his blessing, saying:

I feel like Niall is gonna take my seat on this show. Playing those kind of dirty tricks gives me confidence that he can be the liar that he needs to be to cover for Team Blake from now on.

Niall Horan has even adopted Blake Shelton’s signature “finger-point” to try to persuade artists to pick him, and the Irish singer has put a lot of work into perfecting the country star’s strong twang. However, the dynamic they’ve developed certainly hasn’t precluded Horan from being on the receiving end of the OG coach’s insults. In one moment from the Blind Auditions, Shelton said of their relationship: 

Even though he’s a threat, I’m feeling, like, a father/son-type bond with Niall. Mostly because he disappoints me a lot.

It’s sweet sentiments like this that fans are going to miss once Blake Shelton is gone, but who knows? Maybe Niall Horan will be up to the task of taking over as the show’s resident troll. As enjoyable as Kelly Clarkson’s friendly feud with Shelton is, this new dynamic is proving to be just as fun, and I’m excited to see how it continues to develop. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.