By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Late on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 13th, G.R.E.S. Unidos de Vila Isabel was declared the Champion of the 2013 Rio de Janeiro Carnival competition, marking the third championship victory for the samba school and the close of this year’s Carnival.
Vila Isabel amazed the crowds and judges alike with their presentation of the Endredo (Theme), “A Vila canta o Brasil, celeiro do mundo – Água no feijão que chegou mais um” (The Vila sings Brazil, world’s breadbasket – Add more water to the beans, one more has arrived) when they paraded last during the final night of competition on Monday, February 11th.
Lead by famous Carnavalesca (Carnival Designer) Rosa Magalhães, the parade was filled with brightly colored costumes and elaborate floats.
The school also featured a Samba-Enredo (Theme Song) that was praised for being catchy and sung well throughout the parade. Known for its famous composers in the past, the school won for best samba-enredo this year with the aid of famous contemporary Brazilian composer Arlindo Cruz.
The tallying of the votes held at the Sambódromo was broadcast live. It was a tight competition with the schools; Vila Isabel, Beija-Flor, Unidos da Tijuca (the 2012 champion) and Empress Leopoldinense tied at the beginning.
Popular favorite Mangueira had been penalized due to failing to finish their parade on time and São Clemente was criticized for using station logos during their tribute to the Prime Time block of programming but did not ultimately receive point deductions by LIESA.
Vila Isabel fans in attendance at the Sambódromo during tallying of the votes – and those gathered in the samba school’s Quardra (rehearsal hall) in the neighborhood of Vila Isabel in the city’s Zona Norte (North Zone) – began chanting “a campeã voltou” (the champion returns) during the announcements of the samba-enredo scores. Shortly thereafter, it was officially announced that Vila Isabel had won the 2013 competition.
Vila Isabel will be parade once again along other five top schools (Beija-Flor, Unidos da Tijuca, Imperatriz, Salgueiro and Grande Rio) during the Champions Parade on Saturday, February 16th at the Sambódromo.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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