"What would John Legend do, if in 40 years, if somebody wanted to ... 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,'" Osbourne, 67, said.
"It's, to me, like a master paining," she continued of the song penned by Frank Loesser in 1944., adding that she wouldn't draw a bikini on a nude piece of art. "It's a piece of art."
According to a sample of the song released by Legend and The Voice co-star Kelly Clarkson, the lyrics of the original tune — which paints the pictures of a persistent male suitor trying to convince a reluctant woman to spend the night at his house — were updated after backlash tied the implications of the song to the #MeToo movement. Commentators suggested that the lyrics raised questions about sexual consent, arguing that one of the lines in the back-and-forth song — "Say what's in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)" was a reference to date rape.
The new version includes the lines: "What will my friends think? (I think they should rejoice) / If I have one more drink? (It's your body, and your choice)."
Osbourne appeared to call out that lyric in particular in her response. "To change an innocent lyric, to what is it, 'Your mind and your body?' What the hell are you on? That's ridiculous," she exclaimed. "I have to tell you, I love John Legend. I love John Legend's wife [Chrissy Teigen], his family. He's an amazing artist that I really respect. Why do you do this? That's not right."
"The thing is, if you don't like the song, don't record it," she concluded.
Osbourne's sentiments were echoed by Deana Martin, the daughter of the late crooner Dean Martin, whose 1959 version of the song is one of the most famous iterations. During an appearance on Good Morning Britain recently, Deana called Legend's changes "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, adding, "He’s made it more sexual with those words that he has just said."
She went on to say that her father, who died in 1995, would have "laughed" at the lyrical changes and found them "absurd."
Legend, who co-wrote the updated lyrics with Natasha Rothwell, recorded the song for the upcoming deluxe version of his Christmas album.