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Pope Benedict’s mass appeal

Pope nominated for a Brit music award

Will Benedict XVI add the title “pop star” alongside “pontiff” on his resume?

The pope has been nommed for a Brit Award, Blighty’s equivalent of the Grammys, for singing on the classical music album “Alma Mater — Music From the Vatican.”

Benedict will compete for the nod with Brit “X-Factor” finalist Rhydian Roberts, “Britain’s Got Talent” star Faryl Smith and three other Catholic clerics in a group called the Priests, whose album is titled “Harmony.” Nominees are the U.K’s 10 biggest-selling classical albums of the past 12 months, with the winner announced May 13 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

This gives Benedict a leg up on fellow Italo crooner Silvio Berlusconi, who is working on an album of love songs. But that’s not the full extent of the German-born Benedict’s bid for pop stardom in Blighty.

The Vatican confirmed on Feb. 18 that it’s in negotiations with the BBC to have Benedict be a guest host of its “Thought for the Day” segments on Radio 4 morning show “Today.”

But don’t look for the pope to sign with a Hollywood agent and publicist anytime soon. The Vatican already runs an effective media machine of its own.

Vatican daily Osservatore Romano, looking to ride the pop zeitgeist just as Italy’s hugely popular Sanremo Song Fest opened last week, published its all-time top 10 pop albums list. The roster is topped by the Beatles’ “Revolver” and includes Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” as well as “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory” by Oasis.

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