John Legend Reacts to Controversy Over His New 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' Lyrics

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John Legend at the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

John Legend is standing up for his latest song.

On Friday, Legend, along with Kelly Clarkson, dropped a new version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" after the original lyrics were criticized by some amid the #MeToo era, for appearing to describe nonconsensual behavior.

However, others, including Sharon Osbourne, took issue with Legend's update for changing the original song, further arguing that there's nothing distasteful about its lyrics. 

In Legend's version, after Clarkson sings, "I really can't stay," Legend responds, "Baby, it's cold outside," dropping the "but" from the original lyrics. He goes on to call her a car, crooning, "It's your body, and your choice," and offers her his coat.

In contrast, the original lyrics, which were written by Frank Loesser, have the male suitor encouraging the woman to stay, offering another drink, and telling her, "Oh baby, don't hold out."

"NEW VERSION of #BabyItsColdOutside! A welcome update or "PC Culture run amok & destroying everything great in the history of music?" (?). You decide," Legend quipped on Twitter following the release, which he performs with Clarkson and co-wrote with Natasha Rothwell. 

During an episode of The Talk earlier this week, Osbourne revealed that she was against Legend's reimagining and explained her reasoning.

"What would John Legend do, if in 40 years, if somebody wanted to… rerecord 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,'" Osbourne, 67, said. "It’s, to me, like a master painting. It’s a piece of art."

Osbourne went on to call out Legend for changing "an innocent lyric," asking, "What the hell are you on? That's ridiculous."

"I have to tell you, I love John Legend. I love John Legend’s wife, his family. He’s an amazing artist that I really respect. Why do you do this? That's not right," she said. "The thing is, if you don’t like the song, don’t record it."

Deana Martin -- the daughter of Dean Martin, who released one of the most popular versions of the song in 1959 -- agreed with Osbourne's assessment, telling Good Morning Britain that Legend's changes were "absolutely absurd."

"He’s stealing the thunder from Frank Loesser’s song and from my dad. He should write his own song if he doesn’t like this one, but don’t change the lyrics. It’s a classic, perfect song," she argued. "He’s made it more sexual with those words that he has just said."

On Twitter, the fan reactions seemed to be mixed, with those against Legend's version writing that "people need to stop looking for trouble in everything" and that "PC culture is running amok."

Others, though, came out in support of Legend's version with one writing that "consent is everything" and another commenting that they hope "it gets remade [Legend's] way a hundred times."

Watch the video below for more on Legend.

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