On Tuesday night, the two coaches performed their #MeToo era remake of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for the first time on The Voice stage.
Clarkson, 37, shimmered in a sparkly sapphire gown, while Legend, 40, rocked a Christmas plaid suit as the pair sang their duet on a decked-out holiday stage.
In their updated version of the iconic 1944 tune, the artists replace some of the original lyrics — which some have called sexist — with ones that are more appropriate for 2019.
“I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside)/ I’ve gotta go away (I can call you a ride)/ This evening has been (so glad that you dropped in)/ So very nice (time spent with you is paradise)/ My mother will start to worry (I’ll call a car and tell ’em to hurry).”
“They destroyed a beautiful classic ‘Baby its cold outside’ leave your PC bs for your own music please!,” one user responded to the performance on Twitter.
Another tagged The Voice along with Clarkson and Legend and wrote, “Had to change and ruin a classic bc of the #metoo movement. ugh!”
A third added, “Leave the classics alone.”
“First of all, there’s no side to be on,” he said. “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.”
But despite the backlash, Legend told PEOPLE he was happy for the buzz around the song.
“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 added.
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The award-winning singer continued on to say that he wanted to keep the song light-hearted and fun.
“We wanted a comedic angle to it so I asked Natasha Rothwell from Insecure to be my co-writer on it,” the father of two explained. “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.”
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was first penned by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) in 1944 as a duet for him to sing with his wife at parties. It’s gone on to become an enduring holiday classic, sung by everyone from Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart to Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel.
The original lyrics have often raised eyebrows with lines like, “Say, what’s in this drink?” and a back-and-forth where a man tries to persuade a woman to stay the night despite her continued protests — “I really can’t,” and “The answer is no.”
Last year, the song was taken off of some radio playlists in the wake of the #MeToo movement.