Rio’s Carnaval this year rewarded the creativity of carnavalesco Paulo Barros, the Carnaval organizer of Unidos da Tijuca escola de samba (samba club), which had not won a first place since 1936.
Using magic and tricks that mesmerized and delighted the audience at the Sambadrome, the front commission of the Unidos beat the closest competitors, Grande Rio and Beija Flor, which came in second and third place respectively.
Vila Isabel, Salgueiro and Mangueira followed in the classification handed out Wednesday in Rio. The six first escolas return to the Marquês de Sapucaí avenue for the Champions Parade on Saturday.
Barros could not contain the joy of finally giving his escola the title he’s being seeking for years, always captivating the public, but unable to convince the jury.
“It took time, but we got it. It’s our turn. The victory was the best possible, a wonderful Carnaval. The secret was working hard, dedication, being committed to the school.
“Whoever said I don’t do Carnaval, should go to the United States. The Tijuca community was instrumental in this championship. The modern times arrived, it took a little time, but it’s here,” he celebrated.
The carnavalesco had been criticized by some that his work was closer to Hollywood and American special effects than Brazilian authentic Carnaval. All the criticism made his victory all the more sweeter.
Asked if he was already making plans for next year’s Carnaval he gave a hint of things to come: “I discovered some things this year that I’m saving for the next. I actually found a way to make Carnaval. I discovered my own secret,” said Barros, who won with the theme: It’s a Secret.
Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel came in seventh place followed by Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Portela, Porto da Pedra, União da Ilha and Viradouro. The latter was relegated to the Access Group, whose winner this year was São Clemente, which rises to the Special Group.
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