Move over, Pope Francis. There's a new Catholic rock star in town.
On Thursday, Sister Cristina Scuccia, a 25-year-old Sicilian nun, clinched victory in "The Voice of Italy" with a spirited performance of "What a Feeling," the catchy theme from "Flashdance." Though unlike Jennifer Beals, who strutted her stuff in a high-cut leotard and leg-warmers in the 1983 film, Scuccia opted for a habit, crucifix and sensible loafers. She was flanked by a team of dancers who stripped off their monk-like robes to reveal neon pink, yellow and green suits.
A member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family, Scuccia became a viral sensation in March when her blind audition of Alicia Keys' "No One" -- which has logged 51 million views and counting -- was posted online, and has since charmed with her versions of the '80s hits "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Livin' on a Prayer."
According to the Guardian, Scuccia led a rebellious youth and strayed from her Catholic upbringing but received a calling to become a nun after auditioning for a musical about the founder of the Ursuline order, St. Angela Merici. She entered the convent in 2009 and spent a period of time working with young people in Brazil. A trained singer, Scuccia has said she was inspired to audition for "The Voice" by Pope Francis' call for Catholics to “get out onto the streets.”
What's not yet clear is how her prize, a recording contract with Universal, might conflict with the modest lifestyle of a nun. Scuccia has said she would like to continue singing "wherever the Lord wants."
No offense to Josh Kaufman or Caleb Johnson (the most recent winners of "The Voice" and "American Idol," in case you're wondering), but Europe seems to have cornered the market on interesting talent competition winners of late. Just last month, bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst clinched the top prize at the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
But even in an overwhelmingly Catholic country, not everyone is embracing Scuccia's fame, with some suggesting her notoriety is inappropriate for a nun while others have dismissed her as a gimmick.