Gwen Stefani Prepares for Female Contestants to Disagree with Her as Niall Horan Teases Her Playful Toughness on ‘The Voice’

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

Niall Horan may have developed a close, fatherly relationship with Blake Shelton last season, but Gwen Stefani presents a different dynamic.

During a group interview with the coaches on The Voice, the 30-year-old “Slow Hands” singer shared the most surprising aspect of season 24.

Horan playfully remarked to PEOPLE exclusively, “The most shocking thing about this season is how tough Gwen Stefani is on me. It’s honestly quite startling.”

Fellow coaches John Legend and Reba McEntire couldn’t help but burst into laughter as Stefani chimed in, saying, “I’m sure all the girls around the world will be upset with me! We’re just having fun. It’s all in good humor. He enjoys it.”

In the midst of the conversation, McEntire turned to Horan to inquire, “Is it getting tough? Do you actually take it seriously?”

Horan responded with a jest, saying, “I’ll send you a text later,” prompting McEntire to humorously reply, “Sure, just keep me posted.”

In another part of the interview, Stefani discussed her competition for the country singers now that Reba McEntire has joined the show.

“I was quite anxious about it because I used to watch Blake [Shelton]… if a country artist was on the show and Blake turned his chair, I’d turn mine too. He knows that world better than I do,” explained the “Hollaback Girl” singer, referring to her husband. “But as the years have gone by, I’ve developed my own sense of what I believe is good, and it’s been a fascinating journey. However, this season, when I saw it was Reba, I was like, ‘OMG, it’s Reba.’ That’s a whole different level. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Back in May, McEntire shared her thoughts on joining the series in an interview with PEOPLE. She mentioned, “I’ll be representing country music as I take over for Blake, and he’s got some big boots to fill. I’m not sure what size those boots are, but they’re definitely big, so I’m going to put in the effort to make him proud.” Blake Shelton, aged 47, had completed his final season on the show in May.

Despite her familiarity with the show, having previously served as a mega mentor on multiple occasions, the Grammy-winning artist acknowledged that she had some catching up to do.

McEntire stated, “John and Niall are both incredibly witty and clever, always having insightful things to say, so I have my work cut out for me. I’m most excited about getting started and I’m confident that I’ll receive a lot of support, advice, and guidance from people who will say, ‘You can handle this. Here’s how you can do it.’ I have no fear at all, and I believe it will be an enjoyable adventure.”