Brazil Carnival's Top Six Finishers Enter Parade Of Champions

They wowed the crowd the first time and now the top six finishers in the internationally renowned carnival will be at it again for the Parade of Champions.

The Parade of Champions takes place every year on the Saturday after Carnival giving everybody one more chance to see the dazzling costumes and floats that marked Rio's annual celebration and samba school competition.

The first group to enter the Sambadrome stadium, where the Carnival parade was held last week, is sixth placed Imperatriz Leopoldinense, followed by Salgueiro, Vila Isabel, Mangueira, Unidos da Tijuca and this year's winner, Beija Flor.

Beija Flor's theme honored Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos, a star with such pull in Brazil that his entrance into the Sambadrome right before dawn last Tuesday set off a standing ovation by the crowd.

The 2011 Carnival went off without a hitch but events surrounding the world famous show were not always positive. There was a 30 percent increase in road deaths due to highway crashes. Out of the 30,000 blood-alcohol tests, 3,124 registered illegal levels.

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In the lead up to the Carnival, a fire destroyed the warehouse of one of the performing samba groups, raising the question of whether they would be able to perform.

But to the delight of the crowd, Portela was able to make a dramatic entrance and put on a dazzling show.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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