Ryan Lochte’s participation on Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars” has been met with some serious controversy, but his co-stars love him nonetheless.

Before he and partner Cheryl Burke took to the stage in episode 2, the cast was shown standing in solidarity with the controversial Olympian. They took a jab at anti-Lochte protesters, donning shirts with his last name in a heart on the chest. He and Cheryl were the last to perform during the show and looked to redeem themselves after a less than impressive first dance Sept. 12. Pre-performance footage showed the duo reeling in their practice space just one day after the shocking Season 23 premiere. Ryan broke down in tears during a one-on-one interview, revealing the protest upset his mother who was looking on from the audience. Determined to use the negativity as fuel and score high enough to see week 3, Ryan and Cheryl put together a fun routine to the “Muppets Show” theme song. Donning delightfully kitschy pink and green tuxedos, the pair busted out a fast-pace routine that — while imperfect — brought a smile to many viewers.

Ryan and Cheryl stood before the judges for a second time, this go-round without any disruption. Their dance was picked apart by the judges and awarded a 24 out of 40. The score is identical to their previous one, which has left “DWTS” fans wondering if the six-time medalist will be able to continue on the show.  The score was not the lowest of the night, but certainly leaves the pair in the danger zone.

Many expected the disgraced Olympian to excel on “DWTS,” given his level of coordination and discipline. His performance thus far has been underwhelming, though there is still plenty of time for him and Cheryl to save themselves. Check out our theories about which of the 13 couples will be the first kicked off the ABC dancing competition HERE.

“DWTS” returns Tuesday, Sept. 20, with the first elimination episode of Season 23. The remaining 12 dancers will take to the ballroom for episode 3 on Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.

Cheryl Burke, Ryan Lochte The cast of Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars” showed support for Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte following a difficult first week. Photo: ABC