Remember When: ‘The Voice’ Coaches Shared a Moving Tribute to Sandy Hook Victims With Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”

Just three days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, which resulted in the death of 26 people, including 20 children, The Voice opened its season three finale with a special tribute to the victims. Then-coaches Blake SheltonChristina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and CeeLo Green shared an emotional performance of Leonard Cohen‘s iconic 1984 song “Hallelujah” honoring those lost.

With the stage illuminated by 26 candles in remembrance of the victims, the moving performance, which aired on December 17, 2012, featured all four coaches, season three contestants, and host Carson Daly singing while holding up white cards with the names of those who died in the shooting, along with their ages.

Shelton sang through the first half of the first verse with Levine finishing it before Aguilera and Green took on the second verse of the song as all chimed in with hallelujah in between. When the performance faded the camera panned back out at the lit candles.

Videos by American Songwriter

[RELATED: Leonard Cohen: Minor Falls and Major Lifts]

Following the emotional tribute, the three finalists—Team Cee Lo’s Nicholas David, along with Terry McDermott, and Cassadee Pope from Team Blake—competed once more for the win. Each contestant performed three more times with a new solo song, a duet with their mentor, and a reprisal of their “breakout” performance. Pope was ultimately crowned the winner of season three.

Released on his 1984 album Various Positions, “Hallelujah” was written by Cohen in C-major with the chord progression of C, F, G, A-minor, F, which link to the lyrics—It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.

“Hallelujah” has been covered more than 600 times by everyone from Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, k.d. lang, Bon Jovi, and others, along with John Cale‘s first cover in 1991 and Jeff Buckley‘s more memorable version from Grace in 1994. Late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington also sang “Hallelujah” during Chris Cornell’s funeral in 2017.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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