Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera have taken their “Do What U Want” collaboration one step further and released an official version of the reinterpreted Artpop single. Their duet – on which Aguilera replaces original singer R. Kelly on the hook – was first featured on last month’s season finale of The Voice.
The straightforward remix slips Aguilera’s throaty verses into Gaga’s original vocal parts, much as they swapped lines live on the talent program (in matching gold frocks, no less). Their harmonizing is borrowed straight from The Voice, with a few of Aguilera’s live lyric revisions omitted.
As Vulture points out, studio versions of performances on The Voice do appear frequently on iTunes, but the “Do What U Want” remix with Aguilera seems even more carefully timed; it comes on the heels of recent fallout over a widely-circulated Village Voice story that revisits R. Kelly’s accused rape of dozens of teen girls, adding many explicit and horrifying new details. In a discussion with the Voice, Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis, who first reported the allegations against Kelly, held nothing back against the R&B singer, saying, “Some percentage of fans are liking Kelly’s music because they know. And that’s really troublesome to me . . . There is some sort of vicarious thrill to seeing this guy play this character in these songs and knowing that it’s not just a character.”
The Voice story printed one day before Gaga and Aguilera’s Voice duet, and after Gaga performed the track with Kelly on the American Music Awards and Saturday Night Live. However, Gaga maintains that the new collaboration came at the invitation of the talent show. “I was really excited because The Voice called and said they wanted me to perform on the finale, and I obviously can’t refuse such an amazing show,” Gaga said recently, according to Us Magazine. “And I said I want to know if Christina wants to do it with me.”