Why Ariana Grande Calls Blake Shelton ‘Grandad’

On the surface, Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton might not seem to have a lot in common. The chart-topping artists come from different genres. Shelton has a country background. And Grande is known for pop-R&B hits like “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next.” Plus, the two singers were born in different generations: Blake Shelton is 46, and Ariana Grande is 29. 

But after being each other’s “frenemy” on season 21 of NBC’s The Voice, it seems like Shelton and Grande managed to develop a close bond. According to Shelton, Grande even jokingly calls him “grandad.”

Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton hugging on The Voice set
Blake Shelton and Ariana Grande | Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When did Blake Shelton and Ariana Grande meet?

Grande and Shelton officially met on the set of The Voice in 2020. The pair served as coaches alongside Kelly Clarkson and John Legend on season 21, with Carson Daly returning as the show’s host.

Longtime fans know Shelton is the only coach who has appeared in consecutive seasons on The Voice since its premiere in 2011. Meanwhile, season 21 marked Grande’s debut. 

Throughout the season, Shelton and Grande sparked a friendly rivalry between their two teams. Ultimately, neither ended up winning. Team Kelly did, thanks to the folk trio Girl Named Tom.

After wrapping up her time on The Voice in 2021, Grande revealed she wouldn’t be returning as a coach for season 22. She cited being cast in the upcoming Wicked movie, saying all her energy was being put toward the role, per Cosmopolitan.

Ariana Grande jokingly calls Blake Shelton ‘grandad’

Although the singers have given each other grief, it seems Grande considers Shelton to be family.

While speaking with TODAY‘s Jenna Bush Hager, Shelton was asked about a silly nickname Grande called him on The Voice: grandpa or grandad.

“It is true,” Shelton said. “You know, it started out as just ‘dad.’ And as if that wasn’t painful enough, now it’s turned into ‘grandad.’”

Shelton admitted to not having a comeback to Grande’s subtle shade about his age. He genuinely could not think of a way to insult her. Instead, he chose to take the high road and showed Grande some grandfatherly love.

“You look at Ariana. It’s hard to pick her apart,” Shelton said. “I mean, she’s Ariana Grande. There are no flaws.”

While it’s hard to tell when exactly their “grandpa-granddaughter” joke first began, there is a moment toward the beginning of the season where Shelton is attempting to “sabotage” Grande by sucking up to her and turning contestants in her favor as opposed to his.

“Can’t you just take it as I look at you as like a granddaughter type of thing? And I’m trying to be protective of you?” Shelton joked (via a The Voice clip on YouTube). Grande followed up with, “Oh, thank you, grandpa.”

Shelton later re-shared the clip to Instagram, writing: “I’ll gladly be Grandpa Grande if that means taking @KellyClarkson @JohnLegend down.”

‘The Voice’ coaches have a playful relationship

While it’s true that Grande and Shelton might’ve been a little more courteous when the cameras were off, they were known for being “rivals” during their time as The Voice coaches.

In one hilarious clip from season 21, Shelton and Grande are seen bickering over a contestant. The God’s Country singer quips, “You’re not my granddaughter anymore.” Grande then replies, “Grandpa, wait!” before joking, “Where am I going to go for Christmas now?”

Fans might also remember one specific time when Shelton jokingly referred to Grande as the “worst” coach in The Voice history.

“Ariana, she could be the greatest coach we’ve ever seen on The Voice,” Shelton said during an episode. “But she could be the worst coach that we’ve ever seen here on The Voice. In fact, I’m leaning…”

However, all their jabs at each other seemed to be in good fun. “Always a trip @blakeshelton… love you my pal,” Grande wrote alongside a hilarious video of her and Blake hanging out on Instagram.

RELATED: ‘The Voice’: Which Coach Is Ariana Grande’s ‘Biggest Competition’ in Season 21?