John Legend, Kelly Clarkson Take Heat After Performing Revamped Lyrics To 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'

Grammy-winning singers John Legend and Kelly Clarkson are taking heat for their remake of the Christmas classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

On Tuesday's episode of The Voice, NBC's hit talent-competition series on which Legend and Clarkson are both judges, the vocalists performed their version of the song, which was released in early November. The release follows the controversy provoked by the song's lyrics in the #MeToo era, which prompted many radio stations to "pull the plug" on it this time last year, NPR reported. The public radio organization said the 1944 song's lyrical content rings "date-rape warning bells."

As Newsweek reported last month, Vanity Fair wrote that listeners can now hear Clarkson singing "What will my friends think?" and then Legend's reply: "I think they should rejoice." Clarkson continues by asking, "If I have one more drink?" Legend's answer: "It's your body, and your choice."

"Finally, a version of 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' you can listen to without worrying about the questionable social implications," Vulture wrote Wednesday about the revamped song.

However, following their Tuesday night performance on The Voice, both Legend and Clarkson were criticized on Twitter for the new, progressively minded lyrics.

"Kelly Clarkson and John Legend just sang classic 'Baby Its Cold Outside' and they managed to destroy it with their PC version of it," one viewer tweeted. "Do us a favor and PC your own music! Do not destroy classics!"

Another viewer called the rendition "hot garbage." Yet another said that he was "no fan" of the performance and that the "original was much better."

I love Kelly & John, but that cover of “Baby its cold outside” is hot garbage #BabyItsColdOutside

— Jared Surber (@JSurb33) December 4, 2019

John Legend and Kelly Clarkson just performed their PC version of "Baby It's Cold Outside". I'm no fan of this version. The original version is much better. #TheVoice

— Caleb (@CalebHarper2) December 4, 2019

Others spoke out in favor of the more contemporary lyrics, saying the remake was "less cringy."

If you haven't listened to the not nearly as cringy version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson, you should. It's good. And not cringy.

— Kent Wilson (@kent_wilson2) November 30, 2019

If you haven't listened to the not nearly as cringy version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson, you should. It's good. And not cringy.

— Kent Wilson (@kent_wilson2) November 30, 2019

In a more neutral post, one viewer tweeted that the "efforts to make 'Baby It's Cold Outside' less creepy"—and the lyrics Legend and Clarkson used—"could have used a polish."

“Well, really I better hurry.”
“Your driver, his name is Murray.”

While I commend efforts to make “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” less creepy, I feel like the lyrics could have used a polish.

— Darren Mooney (@Darren_Mooney) December 4, 2019

People on Twitter weren't the only ones discussing the new approach to the wintertime standard. "You do not change the lyrics to the song," Deana Martin said last month on Good Morning Britain, according to The Daily Wire.

Speaking in defense of her late father, Dean Martin, who performed an iconic rendition of the song in 1959, she continued: "He's [Legend] made it more sexual with those words that he has just said. It's absolutely absurd. I think what he's done is 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. [Dean] would say it's absurd. I think John should've just left it alone," she said.

Since the duet, Legend has done multiple interviews, addressing the upset reaction to the new lyrics.

"We were just having fun," the 10-time Grammy winner said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last month. "We knew there was some controversy around the original lyrics and looked at with 2019 eyes. We thought it would be fun to do a new version, make it fun, update the lyrics to be more current."

John Legend and Kelly Clarkson
"The Voice" judges John Legend and Kelly Clarkson onstage at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Kevin Winter/Getty Images