Dancing With the Stars: Ryan Lochte Targeted by Protesters Rushing Stage, Security Scare Interrupts Premiere

Ryan Lochte‘s presence on Dancing With the Stars‘ newest season has been cause for much Internet outrage — and at least one disgruntled hater tried to do something about it on Monday night’s season premiere.

Seeking some image rehabilitation after his imbroglio at the Rio Olympics, the swimmer took center stage on the Dancing floor Monday night and — perhaps surprisingly — delivered his first-ever foxtrot with a good attitude, a mega-watt smile and a fair amount of elegance.

Then, just as Carrie Ann Inaba kicked off the critiques, multiple members of the audience — sporting “anti-Lochte” shirts and presumably not fans of the Olympian and his redemption tour — rushed the stage and headed for him, only to be wrangled by the show’s security team after a few seconds of drama.

All that the home audience actually saw was a prolonged shot of Inaba repeatedly saying, “Excuse me! Excuse me!” to the unidentified attackers, before Tom Bergeron abruptly tossed to a break. You can watch the scuffle play out in the video above.

Lochte and pro Cheryl Burke ultimately landed in the middle of the scoring pack with their foxtrot (they earned a 24 out of 40), but the swimmer earns perfect 10s when it comes to generating watercooler buzz.

Inaba later took to Instagram to praise the ballroom’s security guards; Bergeron was also quick to thank them after the show returned from its impromptu commercial break.

Aaanyway… outside of Lochtegate, here are the three most memorable dances from Monday’s premiere — for better or for worse:

BEST OF THE NIGHT
Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Cha-Cha) — Though Hernandez still has obvious room for improvement when it comes to mastering ballroom choreography, the gymnast’s performance was simply in another league from the rest of the Season 23 contestants. It had speed, it had tricks, it had a patriotic streamer cannon — who could ask for anything more? Judges’ Score: 31/40

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
James Hinchcliffe and pro Sharna Burgess (Foxtrot) — Putting aside the fact that my Season 23 odds gallery is already a mess, I was thrilled to see the race car driver take to the floor with such grace and ease. (I mean, dude sits for a living!) Combine Hinchcliffe’s surprising skill with Burgess’ choreographing prowess, and they might just be… speeding… toward the Mirrorball. I’m sorry, I had to make a racing pun. I had to. Judges’ Score: 31/40

WORST OF THE NIGHT
Rick Perry and pro Emma Slater (Cha-Cha) — Much like Hernandez’s dance-floor domination, Perry’s uncomfortable first routine comes as no surprise. But despite the flubbed footwork and stiff gestures, I appreciate Perry’s ability to poke fun at his own corndog-induced fame. Judges’ Score: 20/40

With that, I turn it over to you. Which couples impressed you out of the gate — and what do you make of the Lochte drama? Hit the comments with all of your thoughts on Monday’s premiere.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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65 Comments
  1. Z says:

    Laurie Hernandez will win this thing. I still dont get why Rick Perry is in the mix. SHouldnt they at least cast people who actually believe that they can dance?

    Also, I dont get why people are reacting as if Lochte murdered/abused someone. He apologized. Move on people.

    • Pete says:

      Agree with everything you said…..Laurie won’t pull a upset unless Val gives a dissapointing freestyle like he did with Zendaya

    • Marf says:

      I think this whole “Attack on Lotchkey or Lokkie or whatever his name is” was completely, 100% planned by producers. They need to generate buzz, the show is slowly dying, they needed a hook to get folks watching from the start. Him and Colin Karpineck, the media are trying to generate buzz. None of it is real.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Loved all the performances last night and the protester were so rude and I was so glad when Derek told the protester to get out… Ryan looked really handsome..

  2. Sara says:

    Publicity stunt? Yeah right. He was apparently close to tears backstage afterwards. He had no idea that would happen. Tom Bergeron looked shocked. And instead of the other dances, this is all people are talking about, which I can’t believe producers wanted. It is disgusting that he was almost attacked. That’s much worse than anything he did.

    • Jamie says:

      Tears can be faked by even the worst of actors. And was he “almost attacked”? That’s a bit dramatic.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Since Ryan is half latino he will have a huge fan base , hes good looking and he is a terrific gold winning athlete.. He will get plenty of votes and he is there to dance and have a good time.. Ryan and Cheryl make a cute couple..

    • Amelia says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised it it was a publicity stunt but planned by the producers who then didn’t tell anyone including Lochte, Bergeron and the judges. Kind of hoping it was a publicity stunt.

  3. Ronnie says:

    I’m no fan of Lochte, but that kind of behavior is uncalled for. The people were wearing anti-Lochte T-Shirts and should not have been allowed inside because they should have known they were there to either boo loudly or be disruptive. DWTS is a family show, and this kind of incident just taints it. And If you don’t like him, just change the channel for the 10 minutes he’s on and then turn back. No one says you have to watch him.

    • wrstlgirl says:

      They probably had the t-shirts covered up. I don’t think they would have been allowed in.

    • Angela says:

      Agreed. So glad the show was able to handle those idiots swiftly enough and without further incident. Lochte and Cheryl handled that scare very well, too.

    • Ann says:

      The Olympics is a family show too and he brought shame to his country and became a terrible role model.
      .
      Parents should use what happened on this show to talk about good sportsmanship

      • DJ says:

        Personally I think ‘bringing shame to his country’ is a bit extreme. He won many many medals for his country, yea he screwed up, yea the Olympics is to be respected and only a privileged few make it that far and get to represent the US, but there have been much worse things that have happened in the past during the Olympic games. The authorities in that foreign country probably hate Americans as much as the rest of the world does and blew it way out of proportion and the media just jumped on it. The media should have had more class and integrity and imo they are the ones that took away from the true spirit of the Olympics. Thank God when I was growing up there were not cell phones and internet to capture my screw ups for all to see and for all eternity! In years to come, this incident is not what is going to be remembered most about the 2016 games. I don’t condone what these guys did, but it is not as dramatic as everyone is making it out to be and I think it took a lot of courage for him to even show up! These people who stormed the stage and so forth are keeping this thing going so shame on them. They and people like them are stealing our focus from where it should be, which is on the athletes that trained so hard to get there and the greatness they achieved! Let’s just get over it already! There are so many horrible things going on in the world that require our attention!

        • Simon Jester says:

          “The authorities in that foreign country probably hate Americans as much as the rest of the world does” – Actually, Brazilians *aren’t* particularly anti-American. At least, they weren’t before Lochte did his d0uchebag routine.

        • c-mo says:

          Not to diminish Ryan’s part in the whole mes in any way, shape or form, but if his mom hadn’t blabbed to the media, none of it would ever have seen the light of day.

      • Tawnya says:

        There are plenty of athletes and celebrities who have done far worse and they still have fans and people do move on and there are plenty of parents who are not great role models !!!

  4. my status on facebook:

    porbably the first time in history that someone has been tackled on a ballroom dance floor
    [sarcasm] so glad they let ryan lochte on dwts he’s already improved the show [/sarcasm]

  5. wrstlgirl says:

    Laurie Hernandez hit the floor and we just looked at each other and said “there’s your winner”. I can’t even comment on the whole Lochte thing.

  6. Margaret says:

    James & Sharna, Calvin & Lindsay, Laurie & Val, just looked like they have the BEST time together and the chemistry showed. Ryan & Cheryl, you could tell they were rattled by the idiots running on stage, and that stinks. He’s not a kid, and while everything that happened in Rio is what it is, he didn’t deserve that tonight.

  7. People didn’t bother OJ this much after he murdered two people. The dude did something stupid, he’s apologized, he’s been punished in numerous ways, get over this utter nonsense. What’s it going to be enough? Shall we behead him in the town square or will people complain that he bled too much?

    • le chatnoir says:

      You have a short memory. Next dwts will star brock turner as this country rewards liars and rapists.

      • Ben says:

        True. He’s not a child… and he seem to be having a good time, profiting from the exposure and enjoying all the atention… so… beside those crocodile tears… were is the atonement?. It’s too soon to forget/forgive that shameless behavior IMO.

  8. Anita says:

    My top 4 frontrunners : Laurie (every pros dream partner, Oooh I just hope Val doesn’t buckle under pressure)…………. James (he had a good Foxtrot but many had did in the past and did ehh the rest of their seasons, if he can kill Latin then he’s a threat, he might be just like Jack Osborne)…………..Jana (came out with a bang she seems elegant and fierce, she’s a threat)……..Malibu (anyone with Derek a threat tbh)……………..Jake getting the first boot I’m surprised Disney stars usually do great on this show

    • Pete says:

      Jake was horrible but I blame his pro those bent knees should of been more corrected in practice…if he had Peta or Witney he results would be better but wow worst disney star ever to dance that stage

  9. Pete says:

    I just hope theirs no contemporary frestyles this season I’m so sick of contemporary freestyles please Pros be CREATIVE THIS SEASON

  10. ChicagoDan says:

    Staged. No doubt about it. DWTS is an aging show and needs buzz, which is why they selected him in first place. And if it wasn’t stages, ABC has a serious security issue.

    • Max says:

      I’d never put it past them staging something like hat … but if that were the case … why would they keep the camera on Carrie Ann. Surely they would want as much bang for the buck as they could get with the footage. Also Lochte agreed to do the show before he went to the Olympics so it was just fate that he’d end up bringing so much baggage to the show.

  11. Cheryl White says:

    I am furious that the season opener of DWTS did not begin at 8 as it states on all the listings, but at ?? I thought it was going to be a 2-hour opener too! I just happened to turn the tv on at 6:30 to set up my recorder and saw the show had already begun!!!! I tuned in just as they were coming back from a forced commercial because of what happened when Ryan was dancing with Cheryl! Come on……. was this done to make way for the darn football game???? Paleeze! Now all the programs have been taken off from uTube so I can’t even watch it there! That is just not fair! DWTS has never started at 6:00 pm! This is a big disappointment! A top tv show is booted out of their time slot because of a football game!!!!

    • wrstlgirl says:

      Sounds like a local network thing. It was on in my area as scheduled and ran for a full two hours.

    • Tennisnsun says:

      The show was simply broadcast live in it’s entirety at 5 pm PST instead of recorded and broadcast later at 8 pm as it usually is. In my opinion they didn’t make that clear enough to the viewing audience. I happened to notice the change only a day ahead. It should be on On Demand soon if not already.

    • Tennisnsun says:

      It was simply broadcast live at 5:00 PDT instead of filmed and shown at 8 pm which is its usual west coast time. IMO the change should have been publicized a bit more, I didn’t connect the dots until Sunday. It should be available on On Demand soon.

  12. Angela says:

    Laurie and James were definite highlights. And Maureen was fun to watch as well (though agreed she’ll need to work on her nerves a bit-but understandable she had them). Babyface could be a good one to watch as time goes on, too.
    .
    And yes. Say goodnight, Rick Perry. He’ll be the first one gone, for sure.

  13. Steph says:

    Really trying to attack Lochte?? This whole f*ing country has their priorities mixed up!

  14. Hellenic78 says:

    And miraculous they will get bigger ratings. After all he’s free for 10 months so he needs to stay busy on Dancing with the Wannabee Stars.

  15. CK says:

    Laurie was fantastic and is leaps ahead of the competition. I wouldn’t be surprised if the footage of what occurred “leaked” tomorrow as a GMA exclusive with Lochte on air to talk about it. Also, congratulations are in order for Ted Cruz. His biggest 2018 potential primary opponent just made a fool of himself on national television. Now he just needs to worry about Jeb Bush’s son.

  16. Cynde Woodard says:

    I usually have a favorite from the first night, but this time you got me with 4. James and Sharna danced like they belong together. Not to mention they look gorgeous together. I’m so glad Rob and Whitney were paired. Their energy really works well together. Lara and Gleb were totally hot and sexy. And who could not dance well with Val. Those 2 were great. As for Ryan, we have all made mistakes. Give him a chance to atone. He is being punished for what he did. That’s good enough for me. Clean slate. He looks like he might be good in time. I enjoyed his dance

  17. sandy harper says:

    Ryan like everyone in this world made a mistake. Yes his was bigger than most. But everyone deserves a second chance. What happened tonight in front of his mother was horrible. No one should have that kind of thing happen to them. I love this show and am glad he is trying something he has never tried before. Please can we remember what a terrific athlete he is and give the young man a chance!

    • c-mo says:

      It wasn’t bigger than most, it was just publicized bigger than most. We, as Americans need to stop glorifying the media and lapping up anything and everything they feed us in the way salacious stories; if it bleeds it leads is a news cliche for a reason…

  18. Tyler says:

    While he doesn’t deserve to be rushed, he also doesn’t deserve pity votes because of it. Please don’t vote for him!
    #anyonebutryan

    • DJ says:

      I do agree he doesn’t deserve free pity votes, but by the same token he doesn’t deserve not to get votes when he deserves them, if the earned them. His ‘incident’ has nothing to do with his dancing, this is a dance competition, not a who is the best American one.

  19. Evan says:

    With all the people defending Lochte here, I wonder how many feel the same about Kapaernick (which I know was spelled wrong) and other NFL players for what they did.

  20. Yoko says:

    Focus your disgust on the judge and rapist swimmer from Stanford. That was a crime. Brazil shifted the focus to Lochte (who isn’t exceptionally bright) so they wouldn’t be held responsible for the horrible conditions at the Olympics or their own citizens robbing athletes. And those who “Hate” Lochte feed into it. And stop holding athletes up as role models to your children. And remember Phelps was forgiven for his DUI and drug use. I’m voting on DWTS for the poor guy for no other reason than the vile comments “proud” Americans keep making about how our country was hurt by his actions. SMH

  21. Daniel snow says:

    People are stupid, there are more things to actually be pissed off about.

  22. The Kaibosh says:

    First of all Lochte isn’t worth this type of response. Protesters rushing the stage? That’s a bit much even for this numb skull. That being said: Lochte deserves whatever humiliation is thrown at him. He feels bad? Shaken up? Tough! He acted like an entitled douche. Rio and Brazil spent billions of dollars to host the games. At a time when they are still suffering the greatest economic upheaval in their history. The organizers may have made some truly questionable decisions. That is true but what the people of Rio. The people of Brazil needed most from the games was some good press. And what does this guy and buddies do? The act like entitled dim wits and feed into some of the darkest stereotypes casting an even larger cloud over the games at the worst possible time. He feels bad? Shaken up? Tough!

  23. Johnny Styles says:

    Why is someone protesting Lochte? Last time I checked, being a total idiot isn’t reason enough for someone to be protested. Yes, he did a stupid, childish thing in Brazil, but I really don’t think that’s worth rushing the stage. Yeesh. People really need to get a life.

  24. Yolanda Grimaldo says:

    Ryan L. is a young guy that got drunk, destroyed some stuff in a gas Station in Brazil and lied about the incident….. and what?? Still he’s an excellent athlete with medals. If these protesters were trying to bring him down…. well, they got the opposite, the more attention the better. I didn’t know all the olympic athletes are saints.

  25. V. says:

    ABC needs to get all the backlash it can get for getting that liar on the show. I hope every week there’s a protest there.

    • c-mo says:

      You should raise all the kids in the US because you have never, ever lied about anything, ever. Your parents caught you doing something incredibly stupid and you confessed immediately and if your buddies were with you but your parents didn’t catch them, you confessed for them too (you ratted them out)…yeah right. Sounds a little like you’re projecting, might want to talk to someone about that.

      • Evan says:

        Well I would say V is “sorta” right. ABC shouldn’t have gone “Hey, we can get some publicity if we get him. You got Miss Hernandez, an Olympian who didn’t do something stupid. That should have been enough.

        • c-mo says:

          He IS wrong. Publicity is one thing but ratings are completely different. I would be highly suspicious if someone said they were “hate-watching” DWTS just to see Ryan fall flat on his face. And protest, seriously? C’mon, that’s taking things to a completely ridiculous level. I can understand protesting if he sexually assaulted someone, killed the victim and then burned all of the evidence, but just for being stupid and then lying about it, nope. I hope you never screw up and have it publicized world-wide because “V.” will call for protests at your employer/school/home, wherever you spend the majority of your day. Over exaggerations and overreactions are far too commonplace, we need to dial way back on the drama. Life is good, let’s show some grace and mercy when and however we can.

  26. Vampie says:

    What did he expect? What a wooz douch turd Ryan is

  27. Was it just me or did Maureen McCormick look much older than Florence Henderson???

  28. Margaret says:

    I think it was stupid of the producers to have Lochte on the show after what had happened in Rio. Things were still heated up from the Olympics. And people were still upset.