John Legend thinks 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' critics 'wanted something to be mad at'

Kerry Justich

The “Sexiest Man Alive” John Legend teamed up with vocal superstar Kelly Clarkson for their own rendition of the holiday song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” But after releasing their version of the song featuring updated lyrics, the two received backlash for what people thought was a knock at the 1944 song. Now, Legend says that those criticizing their version “didn’t listen to it.”

“They saw one line where she’s talking about having a drink, and I’m like, ‘It’s your body, it’s your choice.’ And I think they wanted it to be part of the political kind of culture wars,” Legend said during a BUILD Series interview on Thursday. “If you listen to the song, it’s really just a funny update.”

The 40-year-old singer-songwriter went onto explain that he didn’t write the lyrics with a “political essayist.” Instead, he collaborated with comedian Natasha Rothwell to make what he thought would be a comedic response to the controversy surrounding the interpretation of the song’s original lyrics during the current #MeToo movement. But critics have still found a way to be offended by the latest recording.

“I think people wanted something to be mad at, and I think, honestly, a lot of people are kind of engaged in this whole culture war,” Legend explained. “Some people are upset about the fact that men are being called to account in the #MeToo movement, and I think that’s a great thing that men are being called to account. I think it’s a great thing that women can feel safer at work now, and safer in other public places and don’t have to deal with as much harassment and all these other things because men are being held accountable. But some people don’t like that. And some people think there needs to be a backlash against this movement, and so I think they decided that our song would be the thing that they use to get into this conversation again. Some of them are just being idiots.”

In the end, Legend said he accomplished his goal of making a song that is fun, funny and newsworthy — although he says his wife, Chrissy Teigen, is usually the one to make news.

When talking about his new title as People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” Legend had the most to say about Teigen’s reaction to the news, which she shared on Twitter.

“She always makes Twitter more enjoyable for everyone, including me. I’m like her biggest Twitter fan. I love looking at what she says on Twitter,” he said. “Always think it’s so entertaining, and I think she just understands that medium so well and knows how to interact with people in a way that is newsworthy, is funny, is very honest and true to who she is. And she didn’t let me down on this one.”

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