The premiere of Dancing with the Stars' most exciting moment wasn't from a great cha-cha or a surprising jive — it was an onstage ambush.
Audience members Sam Sododeh and Barzeen Soroudi rushed on stage and threw something at controversial contestant and Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte after his dance with Cheryl Burke. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba was giving her critique when the ambush happened and paused to ask to assailants to "back off." The camera didn't show what was happening on stage, but security could be seen rushing to get the perpetrators off the stage.
KABC-7 shared unaired footage of the altercation, showing security tackling Sododeh and Soroudi, who were wearing anti-Lochte shirts at the time.
Both Sododeh and Soroudi were arrested, but they weren't alone. There was also a group of women at the back of the audience who continued to heckle Lochte and chant "Liar!" In a video posted by Olympic swimmer Ed Moses, DWTS pro Derek Hough is seen coming out from backstage to kick the women out of the taping.
"This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative," Hough, told People. "This is a safe place for people to learn a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that's what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home."
Once the stage was clear, host Tom Bergeron sent the show to commercial. When the show returned to the broadcast, Lochte appeared unharmed but still affected by the incident.
"So many feelings are going through my head right now, a little hurt," Lochte said, clearly shaken but ready to move on. "But you know, I came out here, I wanted to do something I'm completely not comfortable with out here. And I did, and I came out with a big smile and I have the best dance partner."
Burke also stepped up to defend her partner. "I'm shocked, and I'm hurt for Ryan," she said. "Me and Ryan have gotten the pleasure to know each other and he's is an amazing guy. He's great, he's kind and he's just here working his butt off and trying to do what he's supposed to do, which is dancing, so I hope people give him a chance."
Lochte joined Season 23 just days after a controversial performance in the Rio Summer Olympics. Lochte and three of his swim teammates vandalized a Rio gas station and had a gun pulled on them to get money for the damages. The story became a global sensation when Lochte over-exaggerated the facts of the case, including claiming that a gun was held to his head. His stint on Dancing with the Stars is part of an effort to rehab his image after the debacle.
TVGuide.com reached out to ABC for comment about the incident but had not heard back by press time.
Additional reporting by Tim Surette