After Niall Horan Beat Blake Shelton On The Voice, Does He Really Think The Cowboy Passed The Torch?

 Niall Horan and Blake Shelton on The Voice.
Niall Horan and Blake Shelton on The Voice.

Rookie coach Niall Horan came onto The Voice in its 23rd season and completed what seemed like an impossible task — he defeated Blake Shelton on the coach’s farewell season. The cowboy seemed to be setting the One Directioner up to succeed him all season, as the two musicians formed the most heartwarming father/son relationship. Horan opened up recently about Shelton’s reaction to his victory, and whether or not he believes the country icon really passed the torch to him.

Nobody was more surprised than Team Niall’s Gina Miles when her name was read as the winner of The Voice Season 23, defeating Team Blake’s frontrunner, country singer Grace West. And while it was shocking that Blake Shelton wasn’t able to earn his 10th victory to close out his epic final episode of the show, it seemed like a fitting end, after the cowboy spent the season saying things like, “Niall is going to take my seat on the show” and that he was “passing the baton on to my son.” Horan, however, seemed wary of accepting those words as sincere, as he told NBC:

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

I can see how Niall Horan — whose third solo studio album The Show was released June 9 — might be skeptical of anything Blake Shelton said, given the longtime coach’s penchant for trolling his colleagues. Just look at what the country superstar told the former boy-bander following Gina Miles’ win. Horan revealed what happened in the finale's waning moments, telling People:

When we left the seat, they announced the winner and I stood up, and then he came for a big hug. I gave him a big hug, and he said, 'I taught you everything you know.' That's all he said, not congratulations or anything.

That’s extremely on-brand for the OG coach, and given that Niall Horan reportedly laughed as he recalled his buddy’s words, he didn’t actually take offense at Blake Shelton’s lack of a congratulations. Instead of being bitter that his “son” defeated him, his joke more than likely showed just how comfortable he is around Horan. The former One Direction member said that his crossing paths with Shelton was “fate,” and it sounds like he’s going to take what he learned in to next season, as he told NBC:

I’m glad that I was here for his last night. 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. … Let’s see what happens next season.

Joining Niall Horan in the Big Red Chairs for Season 24 this fall will be Blake Shelton’s actual replacement, country music legend Reba McEntire, as well as Shelton’s wife Gwen Stefani and John Legend. Keep an eye on the 2023 TV schedule to see when the show will return for the “Heaven” singer’s shot to go 2-for-2, and you can also see all of the other premieres coming soon to TV and streaming.