KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Stopped By 'No One,' A Nun Wins Italy's 'The Voice'

Jun 6, 2014
Originally published on June 6, 2014 9:49 am

The tiny nun, wearing a traditional black habit that falls below her knees, a crucifix and sensible black shoes, punched the air and embraced her coach — the tattooed Italian rapper J-Ax. And then she thanked the man upstairs for her victory. At 25, Sister Cristina Scuccia has become the new Voice of Italy, winning the TV talent show with her soulful and rousing performances of pop classics.

During the three-and-a-half-hour broadcast, Scuccia performed the song that made her a worldwide sensation. The YouTube video of her rendition of Alicia Keys' "No One" went viral, getting more than 50 million views. The foot-tapping nun took more than 62 percent of the vote, defeating three other contestants coached by some of Italy's best-known pop artists. With her fellow sisters cheering her on, Scuccia clinched victory with a lusty rendition of the theme song from Flashdance, "What a Feeling."

Despite intense media scrutiny, information on the young nun's background is still sketchy. Italian media report the Sicilian-born Scuccia trained at a music academy run by a former starlet who became a religious lay sister. Allegedly a former rebel, Scuccia was inspired to join the Ursuline Sisters after auditioning for a musical about the founder of the order. After becoming a novice in 2009, she worked with poor children in Brazil before entering a convent in Milan.

"I have a gift, and I am giving it to you," Scuccia told the judges when she first appeared on the TV contest in March.

With her victory, she also wins a recording contract with Universal Music, but it's unlikely that she'll pursue a career in rock 'n' roll. She has said her priorities are prayer and serving God, and that she took the stage to impart a message.

Surprising the organizers and the audience, Scuccia closed the event reciting the Lord's Prayer, before reprising one of her most rousing numbers, an Italian revival-sounding song called "By the Shore."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Who knew Italy had its own version of the TV talent show "The Voice." Well, that show has produced a surprising winner. She is a 25-year-old nun who sings pop classics with a whole lot of soul. Here's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE VOICEOF ITALY")

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: (Italian spoken).

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: And the winner is Sister Christina Scuccia. The tiny nun - wearing the traditional below-the-knees black habit, crucifix and sensible black shoes - punched the air, embraced her coach - the heavily tattooed Italian rapper J-Ax - and thanked the man upstairs for her victory. During the three and a half hour broadcast, Sister Christina performed the song that made her a worldwide sensation. The YouTube video of her rendition of Alicia Keys' "No One" went viral, getting more than 50 million views.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO ONE")

CHRISTINA SCUCCIA: (Singing) No one, no one, no one can get in the way of what I feel for you...

POGGIOLI: The foot-tapping nun took more than 62 percent of the vote, defeating three other contestants coached by some of Italy's best-known pop artists. With her fellow sisters cheering her, Scuccia's victory was clinched by her lusty rendition of the theme song from "Flashdance," "What A Feeling."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT A FEELING")

SCUCCIA: (Singing) I can have it all. Now I'm dancing for my life. Take your passion...

POGGIOLI: Despite intense media scrutiny, information on the young nun's background is still sketchy. Italian media report the Sicilian-born Christina Scuccia trained at a music academy run by a former starlet-turned-religious lay sister. Allegedly a former rebel, Scuccia was inspired to join the Ursuline sisters after auditioning for a musical about the founder of the order.

After becoming a novice in 2009, Sister Christina worked with poor children in Brazil then entered a convent in Milan. When she first appeared on the TV song contest in March, she told the judges confidently, I have a gift and I'm giving it to you. With her victory, Sister Christina also wins a recording contract with the music label Universal. But it's unlikely she'll pursue a career in rock 'n roll. She has said her priorities are prayer and serving God. She took to the stage, she says, to impart a message. And surprising the organizers and the audience, Sister Christina closed the event reciting the Lord's prayer before reprising one of her most rousing numbers, an Italian revival-sounding song titled "By The Shore."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BY THE SHORE")

SCUCCIA: (Italian sung).

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

GREENE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.