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What a Feeling: Sister Cristina Scuccia Wins The Voice of Italy with Song from ‘Flashdance’

By Louise Burton l.burton@classicalite.com on Jun 06, 2014 07:38 PM EDT

Sister Cristina Scuccia won first place on The Voice of Italy singing competition last night, after a tour-de-force performance in which she sang five songs over the course of the four-hour final episode.

The singing nun competed with three other finalists for the trophy. After finalist Giacomo Voli sang "Stairway to Heaven," Sister Cristina clinched the competition by belting out "What a Feeling" from the movie Flashdance. She received 62% of the votes overall.

It was probably inevitable that she would win, after her first appearance on the show in March caused such a sensation. That video of Sister Cristina in her black habit, dancing and singing to Alica Keys' "No One," went viral, with more than 50 million views overall.

Here's Sister Cristina singing "Lungo la riva" (Along the Shore), backed up by an impressive video and light show, at the finals last night:

Sister Cristina has racked up an impressive number of videos after appearing on the show several times. Here she is singing Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" from an earlier episode of The Voice of Italy:

After she won, Sister Cristina said "My presence here is not up to me, it's thanks to the man upstairs!"

She also said, "I'm not here to start a career but because I want to impart a message." She explained that she was following Pope Francis's call to bring the Catholic Church closer to ordinary people. She then invited the audience to join her in a recitation of the Lord's Prayer.

When the Pope encouraged members of the clergy to reach out to ordinary people, he probably never envisioned a nun singing a Bon Jovi song on a televised talent show.

And although many people love to watch the hard-rocking nun, some Catholic commentators have questioned whether such performances are appropriate for a nun. Others have criticized her for wearing her full habit on the show, calling it a gimmick to get attention.

So far, there has been no report on what the Pope thinks about Sister Cristina's performances.

Sister Cristina apparently has no intention of leaving her order, the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family, to pursue a career as a rock musician. She said to reporters: "I will go back to my priorities--prayer, waking up early in the morning, school service. That's fundamental for me to be able to begin something new later on."

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TagsSister Cristina Scuccia, The Voice of Italy, The Voice, What a Feeling, Flashdance, Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer, Pope Francis, Universal