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Susan Boyle expected to sing for the pope

Singing sensation Susan Boyle is expected to perform for Pope Benedict during his visit to Britain, the Scottish church said on Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

Singing sensation Susan Boyle is expected to perform for Pope Benedict during his visit to Britain, the Scottish church said on Thursday.

The Scottish woman sprang to world prominence last year after winning a standing ovation on TV's "Britain's Got Talent" and her performance became an overnight internet hit.

Tens of millions logged on to YouTube to hear her belt out "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," and since then she has gone on to top charts around the world.

She has also appeared on U.S. chat shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.

Now the 49-year-old former church worker, who once joked she had never been kissed, is in talks with the Roman Catholic Church to perform at a public mass to be held in Glasgow during the Pope's September visit.

"Negotiations are still under way but we expect Susan Boyle to perform as part of the Papal Mass at Bellahouston Park," said a spokesman for the Bishops' Conference of Scotland.

No further details were available and it was not clear which songs she would perform.

Boyle's spokeswoman said in a statement: "Susan's management are currently looking at the possibility of this happening." She had no further comment.

Boyle, who used to sing in her church choir, is the antithesis of the modern celebrity with her dowdy appearance and advancing years.

The Pope himself has been an unexpected success in the charts. An album from the Vatican which featured his voice was nominated for a Classical Brit Award.

His four-day trip, from September 16 to 19, will be the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II's pastoral visit in 1982 and the first ever papal state visit to Britain.

The Queen, supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the Anglican Communion, will host the Pope at her official residence in Scotland.

Relations between Christian churches and major faiths will be the theme of the visit.

Benedict is due to hold a prayer vigil in London before performing the beatification, a step on the path to sainthood, of 19th century theologian and educationalist Cardinal John Henry Newman, at a public mass in Coventry.

But the visit has proved controversial, with various campaigners planning demonstrations, including British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins who has said he will try to have the Pope arrested to face questions over the Catholic church's child abuse scandal.

Pro-gay activists are planning protests against his comments on the government's Equality Bill, while secularists complain at the 8 million pound ($11.5 million) bill being picked up by the taxpayer.