DWTS: Ryan Lochte Gets Attacked by Protestor and Laurie Hernandez Dominates the Cha-Cha

DWTS: Ryan Lochte Gets Attacked by Protestor and Laurie Hernandez Dominates the Cha-Cha
Getty Images

Dancing with the Stars super fans can finally breathe — season 23 has officially commenced!

Last night’s two-hour season premiere was filled with show-stopping performances, shocking moments and more, especially from Latino contestants Jake T. Austin, Laurie Hernandez and Ryan Lochte.

MORE: See the Full Cast of DWTS Season 23

Jake T Austin

Jake T. Austin’s DWTS debut certainly proved he’s not the little Disney channel star we once knew. He and partner Jenna Johnson hit it off big time in last night’s episode – so much so that an accidental smooch may have gone down during dance practice! The couple hit the dance floor, jiving to One Direction’s “Kiss You”. Despite Austin’s obvious talent, the judges urged him to work on his footwork in the coming weeks.

Laurie Hernandez

America’s newest sweetheart Laurie Hernandez first met partner Val Chmerkovskiy in the middle of gymnastics practice, of course. Not surprisingly, the 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist somewhat intimidated the professional dancer. The couple closed out the night with an epic Cha-Cha routine that brought her mami to tears. The judges, too, couldn’t help but gush over the gymnast, claiming she’s certainly one to watch as the competition continues.  

Ryan Lochte

Fresh off his Rio robbery controversy, Ryan Lochte finds himself in another public bind. The Olympic swimmer’s segment began with an intense practice session with partner Cheryl Burke, where Lochte got emotional about recent events in his life. “My biggest regret is letting other people down,” he said. “And now I want to prove to the world that I’ve changed. This is my second chance, and I don’t want to blow it.”

The duo teamed up for the Foxtrot, all decked out in fancy outfits and moving as one on the dance floor. All was well – until it came time for the judges to critique their performance.  In the middle of judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s rating, two strangers from the audience bombarded the stage, reportedly exclaiming their hatred for Lochte. Inaba tried fighting back at them, but the two men continued, forcing host Tom Bergeron to cut to a commercial break. Lochte, of course, was just as stunned and confused as every viewer.

After the short break, Bergeron asked Lochte how he was feeling, to which the swimmer replied, “I’m going good… So many feelings are going through my head right now. A little hurt, but I came out here – I wanted to do something that I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did and I came out here with a big smile.” Judge Inaba continued her critique, saying Lochte has a lot to work on, but placing the most importance on one fact: ‘We are only here to judge your ballroom dancing,” she told Lochte.  

The nature of the interruption is still unknown: Were the attackers trying to physically assault Lochte, or simply make a statement during his performance? This viral tweet, however, shows the two protestors arrested backstage after being taken by security.

Watch an exclusive clip of the incident below: