As if to conclusively prove that the international spin-offs of American shows are, in fact, better than the originals, a Catholic nun appeared on Italy’s version of “The Voice” in full habit this week, singing Alicia Keys’s “No One.”
Per “The Voice IT,” the nun is 25-year-old Sicilian Cristina Scuccia, a member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family in Milan. She’s also quickly becoming an Italian pop culture fixture: The audition went so well that she joined the show on the team of goateed rapper J-Ax, and a video of her performance has been viewed more than 3 million times.
This is all in good fun, obviously — and it is fun, really fun, like pre-Lenten-chocolate-binging fun. But it also touches on some broader cultural changes in Italy and the Catholic church. Italy is home to the Vatican and a large share of the world’s Catholics, but only one in five people there attends mass. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has gone to unusual lengths to bring the institution more in line with the times and project an image of a kinder, gentler, hipper church. A church where it’s apparently all good fun if nuns turn their God-given gifts to the entertainment of the reality TV-watching public.
Speaking of the pope, Sister Cristina remarks at one point in her performance, “I hope that Pope Francis will call me now.”
If he doesn’t, it’s his loss.