A nun just became Italy’s most famous singer


Sister Cristina Scuccia performs in “The Voice of Italy” in Milan on June 6, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/Marco BERTORELLOMARCO)

A little more than a month after a bearded lady won the Eurovision Song Contest, generating applause from most of Europe and derision in Russia, another unusual crooner just won a major televised singing competition. Her name is Cristina Scuccia — Sister Cristina Scuccia.

The bespectacled nun, who shot into international celebrity in March when a YouTube video of her singing garnered more than 50 million views, won Italy’s “The Voice” on Thursday night with 62 percent of the vote. With a crucifix in her hand and wearing a habit, the nun immediately recited an “Our Father” when she got the trophy.

“I want Jesus to come in here!” the nun bellowed, wearing black shoes and an ankle-length black shirt. “My presence here is not up to me; it’s thanks to the man upstairs!”

 

The competition had been fierce. In the final round, she had to take down a long-haired, 28-year-old rocker who performed “Stairway to Heaven.” She had her nun posse in tow, and they seemed pretty stoked about the night’s happenings.

That delight, Sister Scuccia said, was part of the reason she got into the competition in the first place. Though she just won a record contract with Universal, she may not want a career in music. “I’m not here to start a career, but because I want to impart a message,” she said, adding that she was following Pope Francis’s advice that the clergy become less insular and get out more.

“Since Pope Francis talks of a Bible of joy … I think I’m on the right track,” she said.

But the nun was not without critics. Some ascribed her success to novelty — not crooning skills. Emma Marrone, Italy’s contestant in this year’s Eurovision, said Scuccia was “an insult to show business.”

But viewers didn’t agree. Even though judges sometimes aired reservation about her capabilities, viewers consistently allotted her high marks, and she entered Thursday night’s contest as the favorite. Even Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the movie “Sister Act,” got behind her, tweeting, “For when you want a taste of sister act!”

So what now? The nun said she wants to return to her “normal life” and sing “with young people in church and in schools.”

Here’s the winning song:

 

Terrence McCoy covers poverty, inequality and social justice. He also writes about solutions to social problems.
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