Ryan Lochte danced his heart out on Monday night in pursuit of the Dancing With The Stars title and the Mirror Ball trophy that comes with it. By all accounts, he did well. Unfortunately, his performance was overshadowed by a scary event that precipitated security going on stage. During Carrie Ann Inaba’s feedback of Lochte’s performance, an interruption happened off camera. Despite the show’s choice not to keep the camera’s rolling on whatever occurred on stage, it appears that an audience member rushed the stage and tried to make a statement.
In the middle of Inaba telling Lochte that he has a long way to go in his dancing, you can hear a commotion occur off-camera and Inaba starts to yell “Excuse me! Hey back off!…Excuse me! Excuse me!…Off off!” and Tom Bergeron makes shocked noises before throwing to a commercial and telling everybody to “take a deep breath.” There is also some unintelligible yelling before Inaba realizes what is happening and the tops of security guards’ heads rushing by the judging table to reach the stage where Lochte is standing.
Throughout the interruption, the DWTS cameras replayed Lochte’s performances, but an audience member caught security detaining an unknown figure on the stage from afar, which supports the theory that somebody made it onto the stage from the crowd and endangered the contestants, host, and judges.
After the break, Bergeron described it as nothing more than “a little incident” and thanked the security team for “staying in shape” (because even in a crisis, Tom’s got jokes!) but it was clear that Lochte was shaken by the intrusion. When Tom asked him about how “strong emotions like that make him feel” Lochte replied that so many feelings were going through his head but he was “a little hurt, but you know I came out here wanting to do something that I’m completely not comfortable with and I did it and I came out here with a big smile on my face and I had the best dance partner.”
Tom ends the segment by saying that “we are nothing if not a country of second chances” which now applies to both Lochte, trying to repair his image after his rough time at the Rio Olympics, as well as the two men who decided it was a good idea to hop on stage with anti-Lochte shirts on, as can be seen in the tweet below – courtesy of ABC News’ Jason Nathanson.
While it seems crazy that Dancing With The Stars didn’t realize two people had those shirts on and let them get as far as the stage in the first place, it is great that security did their job well and no one was seriously injured during the incident.
According to People, Calvin Johnson’s dance partner said of the moment,
“I was backstage and when I heard the commotion I ran to the side of the stage and I was just in shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I think it’s a shame that people would feel the need to do that. Ryan is just a guy who is coming here to entertain and get a fresh start, and it’s sad that such a happy night of dance was disrupted like that.”
As Entertainment Weekly reports, Derek Hough apparently rushed the stage and called security by screaming “get them out of here!” Hough’s heroics were corroborated by others behind the scenes.
Other bystanders reported Cheryl Burke (Lochte’s dancer partner) was crying and Lochte seemed unsettled while she attempted to regain her composure. Burke responded to the sudden interruption of the by posting an Instagram photo with the caption,
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
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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
Live TV can be fun when unexpected things happen, but in a case like this it is a blessing that nobody was hurt and the show could go on without too much delay. Everyone’s safety is the most important thing of course, but how dare these hooligans delay more fun dancing. How dare they.