Before Niall Horan was a coach on “The Voice,” he was a young contestant in a singing competition. With the shoe now on the other foot, the Irish singer is reflecting on his 2010 audition for “The X Factor UK.”
Horan discussed his life and career during his March 2023 appearance on “Hot Ones,” a YouTube series where guests answer questions while eating increasingly hot wings. During the episode, host Sean Evans asked Horan how he would judge his younger self.
“I wouldn’t have turned,” the 29-year-old explained on “Hot Ones,” referencing his coach’s chair from “The Voice.” “Not for that guy. I was right place, right time…. I don’t think I would have turned for myself, put it that way.”
At just 16 years old, Horan auditioned for “The X Factor UK” in front of Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry and Louis Walsh. Despite the judges’ concerns he was not ready, he moved forward and was eventually put in a band with Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne to compete as One Direction.
Niall Horan Struggles With Rejection on ‘The Voice’
In October 2022, NBC announced Horan and Chance the Rapper were primed to join “The Voice.” Blake Shelton, in his last season, and Kelly Clarkson round out the season 23 coaches.
“I’m excited to be joining this season of ‘The Voice’ as a coach,” Horan said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to meeting and mentoring the new crop of talent while we battle it out with the other teams!”
With blind auditions currently airing, Horan admitted on “Hot Ones” that he struggles most with having to reject contestants.
“I know what it’s like to be 16 and stood on a stage,” Horan explained to Evans. “I’m looking at some famous dude that’s got your future in his hands. The easy part is pressing the red button, spinning in the chair, saying how you like someone. But when you- When the chair turns around and you’re not with them, how do you give them that rejection feedback?”
Still, Horan admitted to enjoying being a coach and called it “full circle stuff.”
Katy Perry Launched Niall Horan’s Career
Horan credits Perry for launching his career while appearing alongside her partner Orlando Bloom in a February 2023 episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” After Cole voted “no,” the “I Kissed a Girl” singer was the deciding vote for his audition on “The X Factor UK.”
“My audition was going very south, Orlando, and Katy just kept me in the competition,” he explained on the talk show. “Cause if it wasn’t for her, I definitely would not be here and she knows it.”
“The whole time I’m walking onto the stage and I’m just thinking, ‘That’s Katy Perry. That’s Simon Cowell.’ Like the whole thing was, it looked like a postcard,” Horan told Corden and Bloom, explaining that this was at a career “peak” for the pop star.
“I do the audition, you know, Cheryl says ‘no.’ Cowell puts me through, she saves me,” he continued saying of Perry. “And it was just mind boggling. Little did I know what was to come afterward, but yeah, if it wasn’t for her, if it wasn’t for Katy – When we see each other still, you know, we have an embrace.”
More than a decade later, Horan was a member of one of the world’s most popular boy bands and has launched a successful solo career. His third studio album, “The Show,” comes out on June 9, 2023.
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