'The Voice Italy' Singing Nun Releases Debut Single - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice Italy’ Singing Nun Releases Debut Single… And It’s a Madonna Cover

The Singing NunThe Singing Nun

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Remember Sister Cristina Scuccia? The singing nun became an Internet sensation this past summer after winning The Voice Italy with her covers of Irene Cara, Alicia Keys, and Cyndi Lauper. But you’ll be surprised when you find out which female pop star she’s covering now.

Amusingly/somewhat sacrilegiously, Sister Cristina’s debut single, released Monday, is a remake of Madonna’s controversial smash, “Like a Virgin.” Yes, you read that right. Not “Like a Prayer,” which would have at least made some sense, but “Like a Virgin.”

Cristina thankfully doesn’t roll around on the floor à la Madge’s performance of the song at the first annual MTV Video Music Awards, or trade in her traditional habit for midriff-baring lace and a Boy Toy belt. And her version of the sexy song is rather restrained. But the single is still an eyebrow-raiser — especially since she doesn’t alter Madonna’s original suggestive lyrics.

Sister Cristina’s run on The Voice Italy has already drawn criticism regarding whether performing on a TV variety show or competing for a record deal was appropriate behavior for a nun. (After winning, she thanked “all those who have helped me in this difficult period.”) But in an exclusive interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, the 26-year-old — who took her vows in 2010, after a rebellious adolescence that included a stint fronting a secular rock band — has defended her odd song choice.

“I chose it with no intention to provoke or scandalize. Reading the text, without being influenced by previous interpretations, you discover that it is a song about the power of love to renew people, to rescue them from their past,” she explained. “And this is the way that I wanted to interpret it. For this reason, we have transformed this song from the pop-dance piece which it was, into a romantic ballad, a bit like the ones by Amos Lee. Something more similar to a lay prayer, than to a pop piece.”

Sister Cristina’s debut album comes out Nov. 11 on Republic Records and will also include covers of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” Jessie J’s “Price Tag,” Coldplay’s “Fix You,” Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” and Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World.”

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