"What's interesting about season 24 is Blake was always the jokester prankster, and it was great that Niall had a season with Blake because I feel like Niall has kind of taken over that persona for our show," The Voice warm-up comedian Bill Sindelar tells EW.
During his 23-season run, Shelton created a reputation for himself, known for giving a hard time to his fellow coaches – especially in seasons when he worked with Kelly Clarkson.
"He's been giving a lot of slack to all the other coaches and has kind of jabbed at them like Blake would," Sindelar says. "So I would say that Niall is the new Blake in the sense that he's kind of filled in that role of being the funny prankster."
Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images Niall Horan and Blake Shelton on 'The Voice'
During a set visit of The Voice, EW observed Horan's antics firsthand, from tormenting his rival coaches that he's back to win again to photobombing Gwen Stefani's selfies. "I mean, he definitely gives it to Gwen. And they joke about Gwen being his mom and how he says stuff to her," Sindelar says.
In an interview with EW, Horan jokes that his first impression with Stefani was "clearly not great." Stefani teases that she's had to "punish" her and Shelton's fellow coach-turned-adopted-son.
When asked which other artist they would want to coach alongside, similarly to Dan + Shay, who will serve as the series' first-ever coaching duo in season 25, Horan is quick to call out "Shelton," expressing how much he loved working with The Voice's veteran coach.
"When someone like Blake leaves, who's been there forever, you're like, 'Okay, he's got that persona. How do we match that or do we not? Is it a different show?' You've got Reba [McEntire], who's the queen of niceness, and then here comes Niall picking up all the comedy from Blake," Sindelar says. "I'm glad that he was able to take that role over from working with Blake."
The Voice season 24 premieres Monday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.