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.
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We had a bit of a scary moment during tonight's live taping of @dancingabc, but thanks to our security team and incredible staff at #DWTS, no one got hurt. Only positive energy here tonight and always. Thank you. #dancingwiththestars #security #grateful #dwtspremiere #dwts23 #dwtspremiere #premiere
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.