-- Thirteen celebrities and their professional partners strutted their stuff tonight on the season 23 premiere of “Dancing With the Stars” in their bid to win the coveted mirror ball trophy, but the debut was marred when two men rushed onto the dance floor during a critique of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
Lochte had earlier called the competition his “second chance” after a summer in which he was heavily criticized claiming he and fellow U.S. swimmers had been held up at gunpoint at the Olympics in Rio. Brazilian authorities called the claim fabricated, saying instead that the swimmers had vandalized a bathroom. Lochte later apologized for exaggerating the incident.
“My biggest regret is letting other people down and now I want to provide to the world that I’ve changed,” Lochte said on the show shortly before the commotion unfolded.
He and his partner Cheryl Burke were unharmed. The two men – wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts – and several women in the audience were escorted from the ballroom.
No one was eliminated.
“Dancing” returns on with a performance show on Sept. 19. The couple with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes will be sent home on Sept. 20 in a special two-hour results show.
Tonight’s standout moment: He may not have had the highest score but rapper Vanilla Ice (born Robert Van Winkle) scored one of the most memorable moments of the premiere with his crowd-pleasing routine – a hip-hop inspired cha-cha set to his own iconic 1991 hit “Ice Ice Baby.” Judges were smiling at the conclusion of the performance -- although they seemed to agree that the cha cha content was lacking. “I loved watching that dance because it’s terrific ... and I really, sincerely mean that,” Goodman said. “The trouble was there wasn’t enough cha cha cha in that routine.” His comment elicited a round of boos from the ballroom audience.
Hough said the performance made her happy. “You’re an awesome dancer. I just want to see more content next week,” she said. The rapper earned 25 out of 40 points.
Tonight’s high scorers: Race car driver James Hinchcliffe impressed judges with his smooth, confident foxtrot. Goodman said he didn’t think Hinchcliffe would be fluid. “You’ve knocked me out, James. That was terrific,” the judge said. Julianne Hough agreed, saying, she too, wasn’t sure what to expect from Hinchcliffe. “That was an absolute calm, graceful beautiful breath of fresh air,” she said. Hinchcliffe earned three 8s and a 7 for a total of 31 out of a possible 40 points.
Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez also wowed judges with her cha-cha, for which she, too, earned 31 points. Goodman called the routine “a terrific dance.”
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 31
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 31
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 27
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 27
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 26
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker: 26
Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) and Witney Carson: 25
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 25
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 24
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 22
Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson: 22
Rick Perry and Emma Slater: 20