As the old saying goes, “anything that can go wrong, will” — especially during live TV. Ryan Lochte and his “Dancing With the Stars” competitors learned that lesson the hard way during the Season 23 premiere on Monday and many are still reeling from an unexpected incident that required security to take the stage.
Pro Derek Hough and his partner Marilu Henner were safe in the skybox when protesters crashed the ballroom during the judges scoring of Ryan and partner Cheryl Burkes cha cha performance, but he was immediately thrown into fight or flight mode. Derek, who unexpectedly returned to “DWTS” after learning that the play he is starring in was postponed, said the ballroom has become a second “home” to him, adding that he was blown away by what happened. His first reaction, he claimed in an interview with People magazine, was to see to it that the two angry men were immediately removed from the “DWTS” set so the show could go on as intended. Although Ryan is his competitor, Derek is rooting for him wholeheartedly.
“This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative,” Hough said. “This is a safe place for people to learns a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that’s what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home.”
Interruption aside, Ryan and Cheryl impressed fans and judges with their cha cha routine. The pair took the stage to a revamped version of Frank Sinatra’s “Call Me Irresponsible.” The song was seemingly meant to accompany his pre-performance monolog about his made up robbery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 2016 Olympics. Ryan has been suspended for 10 months for giving a false story about a drunken night on the town gone awry and claimed during the “DWTS” premiere that he’s changed in the weeks since returning home. He is hopeful that participating in the show and dedicating himself to a new craft will help fans see him in a new light.
While the jury is still out as far as fans go, the “DWTS” judges were seemed impressed with his first attempt at a dance. Ryan and Cheryl received some constructive advice only to have stage crashers cut their moment in the spotlight short. The pair returned following an unexpected commercial break and while they seemed shaken, both were alright. Host Tom Bergeron thanked security for acting swiftly and the show went on as planned.
Ryan and Cheryl; Laurie Hernandez and partner Val Chmerkovskiy; and Derek and Marilu have been rumored to be the three most dangerous teams on “DWTS” Season 23. Ryan and Cheryl, who International Business Times named third in line for the mirror ball trophy, where the lowest scoring of the three teams. Laurie and Val tied with James Hinchcliffe and partner Sharna Burgess with 31. Derek and Marilu, thought to have several serious advantages over the competition, scored just 27 out of 40 overall.
Ryan and Cheryl scored a 24 out of 40 overall. They pair have another shot at redemption on Tuesday, Sept. 19 before they face elimination the following night. “DWTS” airs at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.