By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In a competition that was as spectacularly contested as ever, Zona Norte (North Zone) samba school, Unidos da Tijuca, has been named the winner of Rio’s Carnival of 2012 with 299.9 points. Pulling itself up from a close second to Beija-Flor in last year’s competition, Tijuca’s homage to Luiz Gonzaga – one of Brazil’s most important and inventive popular musicians from the last century – won the hearts and minds of this year’s judges.

Samba school Unidos da Tijuca wins the 2012 Carnival in Rio, Brazil News
Samba school Unidos da Tijuca wins the 2012 Carnival in Rio, photo by Rafael Moraes/Riotur.

O Globo’s G1 reports that the club’s president, Fernando Horta, said, “Tijuca managed to beat all the other schools thanks to hard work, and slowly but surely this year we put together a spectacular show… The public recognized our hard work, and the judges did as well. We deserved this win.”

He continued, “I have all Luiz Gonzaga’s records. He would have been 100 years old this year if he was alive. An artist like him should never be left out of a party like [Carnival].”

This is only the third year in its 81 year history that Unidos da Tijuca has claimed the title; the last time being in 2010, and 1936 before that.

Commentators are attributing their success to the creativity of Carnival mastermind, creative director, Paulo Barros, who is famous for bringing innovation to the Sambódromo.

This year’s runners-up were Salgueiro in second with 299.7 points; Vila Isabel in third with 299,5 points; last year’s winners, Beija-Flor, were fourth with 298.9; Grande Rio took fifth with 298.3; and Portela earned sixth place with 297.2 points. The top six schools will take to the Sambódromo again on Saturday at the Parade of Champions.

Jacarepaguá and Porto da Pedra were demoted to the Access Group.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.



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