Despite protesters in the streets of Rio and Sao Paulo, Arena de Sao Paulo shined under a bright blue sky, and in front of hordes of yellow clad fans, Brazil booted up the World Cup with a football-style Carnival Thursday.
Rapper Pitbull, pop star Jennifer Lopez, and home grown Claudia Leitte charged the crowds, from within a giant stage resembling a peeled melon. They sang the World Cup theme ''We Are One'', and started the premier soccer event in spectacular fashion.
JLo showed off her voice in a brazilian style sparkling green outfit, despite earlier reports that she wouldn't be able to attend the event. The giant party represented a culmination of struggles to bring the Cup to Brazil, and bring an emerging Brazil to the world spotlight.
At one point at the end of the ceremony, many in the stands chanted and booed against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and soccer's governing body, FIFA. Many in the nation, and around the world for that matter, have complained that spending on the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics has diverted cash from the poor and infrastructure improvements in the otherwise strong nation. A CNN crew was apparently injured during an exchange at one protest in Sao Paulo.
Video highlights and memorable bloopers from past World Cups were shown on the big screens at either end of the stadium toward the conclusion of the 30-minute show, and most seemed happy to start play and put the preparations behind them. The program was choreographed by Paulo Barros.