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‘The Voice’ Crowns a 25th Season Winner

Asher HaVon’s victory on the music competition show surprised none, delighted all

spinner image Asher HaVon holds up his trophy alongside Reba McEntire as confetti falls to the ground on the Season 25 finale of The Voice
Asher HaVon, right, celebrates with Reba McEntire after winning Season 25 of "The Voice."
Tyler Golden/NBC via Getty Images

On the May 21 grand finale of the 25th season of The Voice, the music reality competition show grownups adore — the median viewer is just under 65 — the winner, determined by viewer votes and announced with a fusillade of fireworks and confetti, was Asher HaVon, coached by Reba McEntire, 69. HaVon gets $100,000 and a Universal Music Group record contract.

It was a foregone conclusion. Though second-place Josh Sanders, third-place Bryan Olesen, fourth-place Nathan Chester and fifth-place Karen Waldrup soared at moments, they couldn’t match the chops, dramatic flair and stage presence of HaVon, 31, who in 2015 played for a crowd of 200,000 (including President Obama) at the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march in his hometown of Selma.

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In the first episode of the two-part finale May 20, John Legend emotionally told HaVon, “I truly believe you’re the best vocalist in this competition,” even though he was coached by McEntire, not Legend. He compared HaVon to Whitney Houston.

McEntire, who brilliantly dueted with HaVon on the 1986 Patti LaBelle/Michael McDonald hit “On My Own,” said, “What an incredible voice you have! Your range, your power.”

“Thank you for giving me such a safe place to be my authentic self,” HaVon said. “Thank you for making me believe in myself, and I promise you I will never let you down.”

The oldest pro in the competition, the mohawk-coiffed second runner-up Oleson, 50, may not have won, but he did the AARP demo proud, turning in a soulful, feel-good duet with Legend on Joe Bonamassa’s “Feelin Good.”

A Christian rocker of distinction, Oleson was one of many performers who honored God on the show: Waldrup gave Him a shout-out, Sanders and McEntire performed Randy Houser’s “Back to God” on a church-like set to genuine spiritually uplifting effect, and McEntire and Sanders bonded winningly over their shared faith. And like so many great popular singers, HaVon started out in church.

Besides the contestants, a number of old pros graced stage: The Black Keys, Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson and Kate Hudson, who sings much better than you’d expect from a movie star. Coaches Legend and Chance the Rapper provided comic relief with a dance-off. There were tantalizingly brief clips of The Voice’s high points over 25 years, and glimpses of Kelly Clarkson, CeeLo Green, Niall Horan, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Jonas, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

In one of the evening’s most emotional moments, McEntire presented Wilson with an invitation to become an illustrious member of country music’s holy of holies: The Grand Ole Opry. Wilson was reduced to tears of joy.

Grownup fans at home who savored the finale can now rejoice at the prospect of Season 26 of The Voice this fall on NBC, with coaches McEntire, Michael Bublé, rapper/actor Snoop Dogg, 52, and returning coach Gwen Stefani, 54.

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