Written by Erin Lobner. Media by Alli Haug.
On September 12, ABC launched its 23rd season of “Dancing With the Stars,” which involved a security intervention and a tie for first place.
The show has a fairly simple premise: celebrities are matched with professional dancers, who teach them to dance properly. The pairs compete against each other and are eliminated throughout the season based on ratings from the panel of judges and votes from viewers.
Tom Bergeron has provided comic relief and hosted the show for many years. Erin Andrews also returns to co-host and keep viewers updated on all the gossip this year. In addition to these familiar faces, four veteran judges comprise the panel. Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Len Goodman have years of experience under their belts. Julianne Hough rejoins as the fourth judge after taking a break to perform as Sandy in “Grease: Live.”
Many of the professional dancers return this year, too. Those who competed in the previous season include Val Chmerkovskiy, Witney Carson, Sharna Burgess, and Artem Chigvintsev. This year’s celebrities include Olympians such as 16-year-old gymnast Laurie Hernandez, actors like Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia on “The Brady Bunch,” and musicians like rapper Vanilla Ice.
In the first episode, contestants performed fast-paced, energetic dances like the Foxtrot, Jive, and Cha Cha. Laurie Hernandez and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, tied with James Hinchcliffe and his partner, Sharna Burgess, for first place. Hinchcliffe’s and Burgess’ smooth Cha Cha rivaled Hernandez’s and Chmerkovskiy’s energetic Foxtrot. Each pair earned a total of 31 points from the judges.
But the big buzz of the evening came after Ryan Lochte’s and Cheryl Burke’s Foxtrot. The Olympian stirred up some controversy recently when he and several other swimmers reported that they were held at gunpoint and robbed while in Rio. However, “Rio police later found video evidence revealing that the swimmers had actually vandalized the bathroom and that there was no robbery,” according to US Weekly. Lochte was suspended from swimming competitions for 10 months.
While the judges were evaluating Lochte’s dance, Sam Sododeh and Barzeen Soroudi rushed the stage, wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts. They were quickly tackled by security while a handful of other protesters jeered from the audience. The men were arrested for trespassing, but released from custody. In a brief interview, they stated that they wanted to call out Lochte for being an embarrassment to America because of his behavior in Brazil.
Although the protest made for an eventful show, hopefully the rest of the season goes more smoothly. Security is reportedly being improved to help prevent future incidents.
At this point, it’s still anyone’s game, and the tie between Hernandez and Hinchcliffe will certainly make for some good competition. If you want to keep up with “Dancing With the Stars,” tune into ABC on Monday nights. Be sure to comment who you plan to vote for or share which team you want to win!