It was a real live sister act Thursday night for Sister Cristina Scuccia, who triumphed on the Season 2 finale of The Voice Italy. The 25-year Sicilian nun garnered a landslide 62.3 percent of the public vote, and won a major-label record deal over long-haired rocker Giacomo Voli, after belting out Irene Cara's Flashdance anthem "What a Feeling."
Sister Cristina became an Internet sensation this past March after her surprising Blind Audition of Alicia Keys's "No One" hit YouTube, racked up more than 50 million views, and won the tweeted praise of both Sister Act star Whoopi Goldberg and Alicia herself. Sister Cristina remained a fan favorite throughout the season, thanks to her vivacious performances of such unlikely cover songs as Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and later finale duets with Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue.
And this week, under the guidance of both her coach (bad-boy Italian rapper J-Ax, who described their team as "the devil and holy water") and no doubt a higher power, she won the entire show. "My presence here is not up to me. It's thanks to the man upstairs," Sister Cristina declared before reciting the Lord's Prayer on Thursday's finale.
Sister Cristina took her vows in 2010 after a rebellious adolescence that included a stint fronting a secular rock band. Her run on The Voice Italy drew some criticism regarding whether performing on a TV variety show or competing for a record deal was appropriate behavior for a nun, or whether her choice to perform in her habit was merely a gimmick. After winning, Sister Cristina thanked "all those who have helped me in this difficult period," including her fellow sisters who supported her by sitting in the studio audience, sometimes wearing Sister Cristina T-shirts.
Sister Cristina has now landed a recording contract with Universal. No word yet on when her album will come out, or whether it will feature secular pop cover songs or more religious material.