The Voice

Song by song grades for the Top 5 on The Voice

The Voice Top 5 of Nathan Chester, Bryan Olesen, Karen Waldrup, Asher HaVon and Josh Sanders. (NBC Photo)

The Voice Top 5 of Nathan Chester, Bryan Olesen, Karen Waldrup, Asher HaVon and Josh Sanders. (NBC Photo)


The Top 5 on The Voice take the stage tonight with the Season 25 title on the line.

Each contestant will perform twice in what should be a stupendous night of music.

I write that because this is the oldest, most experienced cast of finalists in Voice history.

Their average age at the time of their auditions many, many months ago was 35.6 years.

That’s three years older than the average age of any previous group of finalists, and Season 25 marks the first time in seven seasons the average age of the finalists is over 30 years of age.

That said, here’s another interesting piece of Voice trivia. Eight singers turned all four chairs during the blind auditions in Season 25. Not one of those singers made it to the finale.

There’s overnight voting again tonight with a limit of one vote per email address via The Voice app and website.

Results will be revealed during tomorrow night’s two-hour season finale. It starts at 9 p.m.

I’ll be blogging live with song by song grades tonight.

See also …
Ranking the Top 5 on The Voice
Song by song grades for the Top 9
Song by song grades for the Top 12


Nathan Chester (Team Legend), 27, Chicago, Ill., “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers: Nathan just set the bar incredibly high for everyone else. That was a rousing start to tonight’s show. The vocal was great. The interplay wit the dancers was great. The way Nathan changed up the ending was great. And, yep, we even got a split. That he immediately bounced out of. Most singers have one signature moment that make a performance special. Nathan just kept heaping moment on top of moment. Great performance. Grade: A

Josh Sanders (Team Reba), 35, Kannapolis, N.C., “Go Rest High on That Mountain”: Josh is a pastor by trade, so not surprised he goes with a ballad with religious overtone. Nice song choice and heartfelt delivery. In spite of the softer track, Josh struggled to cut through with his voice at a couple of points and there was a wonky glory note near the end. Still, a pretty solid performance. Grade: B

Asher HaVon (Team Reba), 31, Selma, Ala., “Last Dance” by Donna Summer: I’m assuming this is Asher’s upbeat song. No idea why we started the “Last Dance” with roller skated, but that’s The Voice for you. Speaking of voices, Asher was in splendid voice except for one tiny spot where he seemed to be straining a bit. He focused more on vocal acrobatics, letting the dancers party around him. Grade: B+

Bryan Olesen (Team Legend), 49, Lincoln, Neb., “Beautiful Things”: Team Legend is on fire. That song was a great fit for Bryan. His opening was incredible. He got to show off his range. His delivery was heartfelt. The song swelled and he still cut through, then quieted again for a great ending. He gets a standing ovation from the coaches. And, oh, my, he has John Legend in tears, saying he “felt that.” Grade: A

Karen Waldrup (Team Dan + Shay), 36, of Mandeville, La., “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts: Wow, Karen got the full voice treatment on that one. Pyrotechnics. A rising platform. Karen sounded great on the chorus. Her voice was so fine and tender at the end as well. I’ll continue to debate the dynamics of her performances a bit. I think she gets to 10 a little too quickly, rather than slowly building to a big finish and relying on her lovely voice and emotion to carry the early part of the song. Grade: B


Josh Sanders (Team Reba), 35, Kannapolis, N.C., “Boots On” by Randy Houser: That’s the most stage presence we’ve seen from Josh, who was clearly having fun, especially over the last half of the performance. His voice also started cutting through better as the song went on. Early on, I was thinking, ‘Well, gee, if he has such an original country voice, it’d be nice to hear it’ because the backing music was so loud. Grade: B

Nathan Chester (Team Legend), 27, Chicago, Ill., “A Song to You”: Well, that should put to rest any notion that Nathan is all stage presence. He just delivered a great, heartfelt vocal, with another nice little flair at the end. He’s made a pretty darn convincing argument tonight that he deserves the confetti shower tomorrow night. Grade: A–

Bryan Olesen (Team Legend), 49, Lincoln, Neb., “Freedom” by George Michaels: Nice celebratory performance from Bryan. There sure was a lot happening on the stage between the chorus and all those dancers. Bryan was in fine voice, capping a solid night. My biggest complaint is strategic. Knowing The Voice voters, I would have gone back to classic rock since that’s how Bryan started the show and since a male rocker just won Season 24 five months ago. Grade: B+

Karen Waldrup (Team Dan + Shay), 36, of Mandeville, La., “I’m Alright” by Jo Dee Messina: Karen auditioned with a Jo Dee Messina song and she’s picked one for her last performance as well. It’s a fun, upbeat number with Karen showing off tons of stage presence and nailing a heck of a glory note at the end. Solid. Dan says she’s been one of the most consistent performers on the show. Grade: B

Asher HaVon (Team Reba), 31, Selma, Ala., “I Will Always Love You” : It’s called The Voice and Asher just demonstrated one heck of a voice again on that performance. Chance says he deserves to win. I was wondering whether Asher would rely on vocal frills or emotion to bring that home. He wound up delivering both. There were a few more vocal acrobatics than I prefer. But, then again, you’d better show off all you can do with the Voice title on the line. Grade: A

And how would I rank the Top 5 after that final night of performances?

Exactly the way I ranked them coming in.

1. Nathan Chester
2. Asher HaVon
3. Bryan Olesen
4. Karen Waldrup
5. Josh Sanders

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  1. Kris May 20, 2024 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    I’m thinking you aren’t much on country music. I would reverse the order but put Bryan last. Just my opinion

    • Music Lover May 21, 2024 at 9:13 am -  Reply

      I second that. Bryan’s performances are rather cheesy.

  2. Louise May 21, 2024 at 11:13 am -  Reply

    My order of performances are
    Bryan Olesen
    Karen Waldrup
    Josh Sanders
    Nathan Chester
    Asher Havon

  3. Ginger May 21, 2024 at 11:58 am -  Reply

    Nathan is #1 all the way! He’s the total package performer and keeps the audience engaged! His joy is contagious! I hope he goes to the top not only with the show but his career! Love Nathan!! ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Kim May 21, 2024 at 1:43 pm -  Reply

    Bryan Olesen for the win!! Go Bryan!!

  5. TV Fan May 21, 2024 at 3:11 pm -  Reply

    While The Voice continues to change coaches it has failed in one very important aspect of its production. The show’s presentation has really changed at all in 25 seasons. And that is getting very, very old.

    How often do we have to see contestants “asked” needless questions by Carson while they await results?

    Would it hurt them to at least once not go through the ridiculous routine of asking the finalists what they would like to say to their coach if they do not advance?

    And, along with this, the endless routine of coaches begging for votes for their singers which is really ridiculous when they may have two or sometimes even three singers still in contention.

    The Voice better do something to freshen up its show because American Idol thoroughly has kicked its butt this year.

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