This is probably not what Niall Horan meant when he sang the words ” put a little love on me.”
In a new installment of The Late Late Show‘s Carpool Karaoke, the former One Direction star, 26, faced his avian phobia with host James Corden – getting slightly messy in the process. As a form of comedic exposure therapy, Horan held a harmless pigeon named Ted, as a pair of fellow birds perched on the singer’s head and shoulders.
“I do enjoy a good walk in the park, but the minute pigeons come into it…,” he said, adding that he thinks pigeons “are horrible.”
As the “Slow Hands” singer stood anxiously while getting up close and personal with the birds, the good sport visibly showed signs of playful discomfort.
“James, I swear this has actually made my phobia worse,” said a nervous Horan, moments before one of the animals “pooed” on his back. Corden, 41, laughed, “I can’t be blamed for their actions,” as he helped wipe the mess off the musician’s back.
Horan, who also listed claustrophobia as a fear of his, first revealed that he is ornithophobic (afraid of birds) in 2012, recounting a traumatic experience he had as a kid.
“I get really nervous if pigeons are flying around before shows,” he told U.K. outlet at the time. “I can’t stand them after one once flew in through my bathroom window and went for me while I was having a wee. That was enough. I think pigeons target me.”
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Horan’s new album Heartbreak Weather debuted on Friday, a culmination of anticipation and excitement from both fans and the artist, who includes songs on the record like “No Judgement” and “Arms of a Stranger.”
“In October 2018 I wrote the first song for this record,” wrote Horan on Instagram. “Both you and I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I had so much fun and a lot of hard moments writing this album and I’m very proud of the record as a body of work. ￼NOW IT’S YOURS. Dance, laugh, cry, take the lyrics in, do whatever makes you feel it.”
He continued: “Thank you for your patience and loyal support as always. I really hope that you love it as much as I love it.”
Heartbreak Weather is now available.