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Niall Horan on Whether Blake Shelton Passed the Torch to Him on The Voice

Niall Horan spoke with NBC Insider about potentially filling the shoes of Blake Shelton, the Coach he once called "world's greatest dad."

By Jax Miller

It was an epic showdown — and a sad foam finger farewell — in the Season 23 finale of The Voice, but one of the newest Coaches hopes he'll return with some good ol' fashioned, midwestern wisdom. 

How to Watch

Watch The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Legendary country singer Blake Shelton said goodbye as the longest-running Coach of the series, having served since The Voice premiered in 2011.

His wife, previous Coach and pop singer Gwen Stefani, along with former Coach and superstar John Legend and country music icon Reba McEntire (who served as Season 23’s Mega Mentor) are slated to return next season.

Split image of Niall Horan and Blake Shelton.

Also coming back will be one of Season 23’s newest Coaches, Niall Horan, who ended this season with a victory when Team Niall singer Gina Miles was crowned champion.

RELATED: Simon Cowell Says Niall Horan Becoming a Coach on The Voice Is a "Weird, Full Circle-y Thing"

The Irish singer, who found stardom as one of the members of the U.K. boy band One Direction, joined Season 23 and soon built a laugh-out-loud father-son relationship with Shelton. The pair often joked with one another, with the O.G. bestowing his title onto Horan early in the season.

NBC Insider caught up with Horan following Miles’ win, asking him if he saw his victory during Shelton’s final season as a “torch-passing moment.”

Horan gave a playful answer.

“I don’t know; he said it,” said Horan. “I don’t know whether he meant it or not because he says a lot of stuff.”

Horan and Shelton’s back-and-forth banter made for some of The Voice’s most memorable times in Season 21, including when Horan stole his predecessor’s finger-pointing gestures. Longtime Coach Kelly Clarkson called their pop-and-son dynamics “cute,” with Coach Chance the Rapper commenting about how they do the “dad-son thing so strong.”

“I feel like Niall is going to take my seat on the show,” Shelton previously told producers. In another instance, Shelton joked to his fellow Coaches, “I’m passing the baton on to my son.”

Niall Horan at SiriusXM Studios.

Horan joked about firing his own real-life dad, gifting Shelton with a coffee mug that read: “World’s Best Dad.”

And few could forget when Horan came dressed as Shelton — wearing Shelton’s actual clothes — giving audiences his best Oklahoman strut.

“I’m glad that I was here for his last night,” Horan said in his recent interview with NBC Insider. “As I’ve said in previous interviews, when I think of The Voice, I think Blake. And now that’s gone, but hopefully, he’s taught me enough that I can be as ignorant and as crazy as him.”

RELATED: Niall Horan's 2023 Tour: Get the Details

Following his Team Niall win, Horan told NBC Insider that he and Shelton should make a “game changer” show about their comedic antics.

The Voice finale even featured a hilarious scripted clip of a would-be sitcom called The Oddest Couple, featuring Horan and Shelton as new father-son roommates. The clip shows a hand-written letter by Legend, claiming he’s moving out because he “can’t handle how messy” Shelton is.  Horan then enters with a honey-I’m-home style entrance à la I Love Lucy.

“If anyone’s listening from NBC, this could be our new sitcom,” Horan laughed when speaking with NBC Insider. “I feel like that would be a good night of television.”

Blake Shelton appears on The Voice.

Shelton announced his retirement late last year, telling reporters he wanted to devote more time to his stepchildren, whom he shares with his wife, Stefani. The singers met while working together on The Voice and officially tied the knot in July 2021.

“Twenty-three seasons; he has truly changed people’s lives,” Stefani said in the finale. “The Voice is gonna go on, but Blake’s legacy will be there forever.”

Stefani joined a chorus who saw Shelton off with well wishes, including Dolly Parton, Adam Levine, and winning Artists of seasons past.

“Let’s see what happens next season,” Horan told NBC Insider.

Catch up on Season 23 of The Voice on NBC and Peacock.

- Reporting by Tara Bennett