Christ the Swiftie? Taylor the Redeemer? Blasphemy or high praise?
Whatever you want to call it, Taylor Swift fans in Brazil gave the pop superstar a divine welcome on Thursday by projecting a Swift-inspired T-shirt on the country’s most iconic landmark: the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
A projection that read “Welcome to Brasil” and other slogans — inspired by Swift’s “Welcome to New York” and her Junior Jewels T-shirt from her “You Belong With Me” music video — lit up the 125-foot-tall monument when she touched down in the South American nation on Thursday. The country’s state names also were projected on the 98-foot statue of Jesus Christ, as well as other nods to her work, including a scarf from “All Too Well” and a bow and arrow, believed to be a reference to “The Archer.”
The global superstar is playing six dates in Brazil as the final leg of the Latin America portion of her Eras Tour. Swift plays three nights in Rio this weekend, starting Friday night, and three nights in São Paulo next weekend.
Visuals have previously been projected on the monument for social and cultural causes, such as a countdown clock to direct attention to the climate crisis and flags of countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thursday’s display — ahem, (Taylor’s version) — was created by Gabriel Dadam, an art director for one of the singer’s fan clubs, and the decision to pay tribute to the singer was made in conjunction with the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary located at the foot of the sculpture. The stunt was catalyzed by a fan campaign and charity drive benefiting the Holy See’s World Day of the Poor on Nov. 19.
“The Sanctuary will bear all the costs of the projection and will continue with its mission, which is to welcome everyone with open arms,” the fundraising site said.
The sanctuary’s rector, Father Omar Raposo, agreed to pay for the projection if Swifties could collect 20,000 units of mineral water and panettone (sweet bread) to be donated to the needy.
AFP reported that Raposo challenged them to raise 300,000 reais ($60,000) to be used to give out food baskets for the Pope Francis-led initiative. Swifties reportedly collected 180,000 reais in less than 24 hours and the campaign has been extended through Sunday — the last day of Swift’s three-night stint in Rio — to give people more time to contribute.
“We did it Swifties !! Y’all could show Taylor and next all the love!” Raposo wrote Thursday on Instagram, sharing aerial footage of the lit-up landmark. “Many thanks to all who donated! Make it a wonderful day!”
“Okay, I did my part!” Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, tweeted in Portuguese. “But thank Father Omar and do your part and help with donations! Ps.: From today onwards, I ask all fan clubs to direct their requests about the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer to our beloved Archdiocese. Friend Father Omar, the ball is yours! I went!”
The Rio Star, the giant Ferris wheel overlooking Guanabara Bay, also was lit up to welcome Swift to town: “Love’s a Game, Wanna Play?” it said, referencing her “Blank Space” lyric.
Meanwhile, while Brazil showed the singer plenty of love, the City of Brotherly Love did not.
The singer, who is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, won’t be hearing her music on a top-40 radio station this weekend ahead of the Chiefs’ Monday Night Football game against the Eagles — the team that older brother Jason Kelce plays for.
Incidentally, that’s the rematch where Swift’s parents reportedly are set to meet the Kelce clan.
“Q102 is punting Taylor Swift from the radio station for the entire weekend because while Q102 loves Taylor Swift, we can’t get enough of her, this weekend it’s really important we show our support for the Birds,” said Nugget, a radio host at Q102.
“Q102 loves Taylor Swift and the whole Travis thing as much as the rest of the world, but this weekend, we’ve gotta focus. We’ve been forced to punt Taylor Swift from the playlist,” DJ Buster of “Bex and Buster” added on a Philly morning show earlier this week.
The station is planning a “ceremonial last day” of playing Swift’s hit music before booting her for the weekend and through Monday night.
By Tuesday, the Grammy Award winner’s music will return to the station’s airwaves.