PEOPLE’S sexiest man alive, John Legend, decided to bring Christmas cheer this December by teaming up with Kelly Clarkson. The two are coaches on The Voice, and they performed a remake of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on the show.
The remake was released on November 7, and fans quickly noticed the changes made to the classic Christmas song. The two had replaced the original “rapey” parts with something that fit into the modern times.
The changes, while seeking to make the song less sexists, stirred up controversy, and mixed opinions were quickly voiced. Finally, 40-year-old Legend decided to air his take on the debate.
Before his performance on Sirius XM’s Dial Up the Moment campaign, he told PEOPLE, “First of all, there’s no side to be on. It’s just another version of the song. If you don’t wanna listen to it, you don’t have to. No one’s saying you can’t listen to the old version. Those versions all exist. People make new versions of songs all the time and we thought it’d be fun to update the song and make it more current.”
Legend, who earned the EGOT status this year, stated that he was looking to add a twist to the lyrics; “We wanted a comedic angle to it so I asked Natasha Rothwell from Insecure to be my co-writer on it. She came up with so many funny ideas and we used so much of it and made a brand new version, one that’s kind of updated for now. And we had a lot of fun making it.”
The song’s biggest critic was Sharon Osbourne, who publicly admonished the song in an episode of The Talk, which she co-hosts. She stated; “What would John Legend do if, in 40 years, if somebody wanted to — you know, times change — re-record one of his songs, and there was some group that found it offensive, and somebody just went, ‘Oh, I can change the lyrics on that,’” adding that, “It’s, to me, like a master painting. You go and see these beautiful nudes in museums all over the world, they’re spectacular. Would it be right for me to go and draw a bikini top on one of those nudes? It’s still an art form, it’s a piece of art.”
Chrissy Teigen, Legend’s wife, came to her husband’s defense when she appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show. She stated that her husband changed the lyrics after some radio stations removed the original song. Teigen confessed that she still loved the original song.
She then turned her attention to Osbourne’s comments, saying; “Well then Sharon assumed you guys like burned them all in the backyard or something and that they can never listen to the original ever again. If I can’t have my creepy song, it’s not Christmas. I want date-rapey songs.”
Despite the backlash, Legend believes that he created the buzz-worthy song he had set out to make. “We figured it’d be fun, we figured it’d be funny and we figured it’d be newsworthy. And I think we achieved all three,” he told PEOPLE.