The nightmarish media circus included many, many lowlights, but among them was not one but two versions of the iconic tune.
Tori Kelly's version of the song played during the fireworks that followed Donald Trump's speech, belting out as pyrotechnics spelled out "TRUMP 2020" in the sky. Then, the song was performed in an operatic style by Christopher Macchio.
That the song was performed at all — let alone twice — did not sit well with just about everyone online.
UPDATE (8/28, 10 p.m. ET): The estate of Leonard Cohen has now said it is "exploring" various legal options after "Hallelujah" was used at the Republican National Convention even though the it was not authorized to do so.
In a statement, Michelle L. Rice, a legal rep for the Cohen estate, said the following:
We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC's use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner "Hallelujah," one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options. Had the RNC requested another song, "You Want it Darker," for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.
You can read some reactions below.
I wish Trump had gone deeper into the Leonard Cohen catalogue, maybe "Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On"?— scharpling (@scharpling) August 28, 2020
Reminder: Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is a break up song.— Megan Carpentier (@megancarpentier) August 28, 2020
Someone please mash up Trump's fireworks w/ "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen instead.— B. Dolan (@BDolanSFR) August 28, 2020
On one hand, I'm incensed the RNC jacked a beautiful Leonard Cohen classic for its ignorant hypocrite bigot party.— Larry Fulford (@LarryFulford) August 28, 2020
On the other, them blasting "It's not somebody who's seen the light, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah"
Cohen 1, Trump still 0
I love Leonard Cohen and I love President Trump. Deal. With. That.— Freedom Loving Parler User🇺🇸🏅🚴♀️✝️oIIIIIIIo (@olunum) August 28, 2020
people freaking out tonight because trump supposedly ruined leonard cohen's hallelujah. bruh that song was ruined twenty years ago lol— matthew steven birt (@msbirt) August 28, 2020
"Everybody knows the good guys lost. Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor stay poor, the rich get rich. That's how it goes. Everybody knows" Leonard Cohen is spinning in his grave hearing #RNCConvention202 try & use his songs. He let himself die to avoid the Trump era!!— ChrisOx (@chrisoxley10) August 28, 2020