published Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Italy's singing nun wins 'Voice' competition

Sister Cristina Scuccia poses with the trophy and holding a crucifix on the stage after winning the final of the Italian version of the TV talent show "The Voice" in Milan, Italy. With her full habit, sensible shoes and cheering nuns in her camp, Sister Cristina Scuccia made it to Thursday's finals of the Italian version of "The Voice" after capturing attention, and millions of YouTube viewers, with her first-round performance in March.
Sister Cristina Scuccia poses with the trophy and holding a crucifix on the stage after winning the final of the Italian version of the TV talent show "The Voice" in Milan, Italy. With her full habit, sensible shoes and cheering nuns in her camp, Sister Cristina Scuccia made it to Thursday's finals of the Italian version of "The Voice" after capturing attention, and millions of YouTube viewers, with her first-round performance in March.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MILAN — A nun who became an Internet star for her unadorned pop song performances in full habit triumphed at Italy's version of musical competition "The Voice" early Friday, singing and dancing to a song from the 1980s movie "Flashdance."

Sister Cristina Scuccia has fascinated a global audience from her first surprise appearance in a blind audition back in March to her final number, "Flashdance ... What a Feeling," that clinched her victory among the final four competitors during the four-hour finale.

She took the title, and the Universal record contract, with a convincing 62 percent of the votes -- but her insistence on wearing a habit for the show has raised concerns among some faithful who question whether such exhibitionism is appropriate for a nun, and among critical viewers who see it as a gimmick to win attention.

After winning, Scuccia, 25, thanked "all those who have helped me in this difficult period," including sisters from her order who have supported her, sitting in the audience during each appearance with joyful smiles.

She reserved her final thanks "for the one up there," and insisted on reciting the Lord's Prayer after winning, inviting the studio audience and a skeptical panel of judges to join her.

"I want Jesus to enter here," she said.

Scuccia became an Internet sensation when she appeared in a blind audition on the show in March singing an Alicia Keys number, "No One," which has since been viewed by at least 50 million on YouTube.

The Sicily native told the panel of judges, stunned at the sight of a pop-singing nun, that she went on the show to share her "gift," and chose bad-boy rapper J-Ax as her coach. He described the team as "the devil and holy water."

"It all started as a game," Scuccia said after winning. "But then, playing the character, every evening I realized my life was changing."

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