Rio de Janeiro – Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos was cheered by the crowd at Rio de Janeiro's Sambadrome when he paraded with the Beija Flor samba school on a day momentarily dampened by a downpour.
Beija Flor, one of the favorites for the Carnival crown this year, presented the theme "The Simplicity of a King" as a tribute to the singer who will be 70 in April, and who in the wee hours Tuesday rode on the school's last float, drawing to an end two days of colorful parades.
The "king" of song, dressed as always in blue and white, rode on a float with a huge image of a Christ with open arms symbolizing his religious beliefs.
The school portrayed the artist's childhood in his hometown of Cachoeiro Itapemirim and his debut in the music world with groups like La Joven Guardia (The Young Guard) and hits including "Amada Amante" (Beloved Lover), "Concavo y Convexo" and "Lady Laura" in a parade in which his partner, the composer Erasmo Carlos, also took part, along with a list of Brazilian showbiz celebrities.
A similar chapter of entertainment history was displayed by the Academicos de Salgueiro samba school with its parade "Rio in the Movies" dedicated to the city's cinematic background through recreations of its traditional movie theaters and scenes from all-time favorite films.
Academicos de Salgueiro evoked the golden days of a downtown Rio district called Cinelandia, and vintage films like "Volando para Rio" (Flying Down to Rio), "El Hombre del Sputnik" (The Man of the Sputnik) and "Madame Satan."
The school also recalled such celebrities as Carmen Miranda, the Disney parrot Ze Carioca, and the macaw Blu, the leading character in "Rio," whose world premiere is set for April.
This samba school's band, rated one of the best of Carnival and made up of close to 300 musicians, excited the crowd when its members appeared dressed as officers of Rio de Janeiro's militarized police, stars of the hit film "Tropa de Elite" (Elite Troops).
Despite its brilliant presentation, the Academicos de Salgueiro school went over the stipulated time limit - a maximum 82 minutes - which will lose it some points in the final voting.
The second and last night of parades at the Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome was rained on, a factor that hurt the Grande Rio samba school, which seems unable to get along with the forces of nature, given that a month ago it lost part of its floats and costumes in a fire, and on Monday night was forced to parade in a downpour.
The Carnival victor will be chosen Tuesday by a 50-member jury that will judge 10 aspects of each school.