During last week’s Dancing with the Star premiere, two protesters made a scene when they walked onto the dance floor to protest Ryan Lochte’s appearance on ABC’s ballroom dance competition. Now reports have surfaced that point to security personnel doing a poor job of handling the incident, prompting the network to put the Hollywood, California television studio on lockdown during tonight’s live show.
Has the network been tipped off about another possible protest against Ryan Lochte or is ABC just tightening up their security to prevent future outbreaks?
According to Page Six, not only is the studio on lockdown for Monday night’s show, members of the audience are required to show up one hour early, and security will be “patting people down and the stage will be off-limits one hour before the 8 p.m. ET showtime.
An insider tells Page Six that last week’s incident was “very scary,” no one knew what was going on, and “security handled it very poorly.”
In addition to tonight’s lockdown, additional security has been provided during rehearsals for all of the cast members throughout the past week, not just for Ryan Lochte.
Although there are no published reports that indicate another anti-Lochte protest is in the works, ABC simply seems to be playing it safe. The show airs live and the production crew has very little time to cut the cameras — something that was apparent when two men stormed the dance floor while Lochte was getting his scores from the judges last week.
As for Ryan’s performance this week, his pro partner Cheryl Burke revealed in her People blog that she has been trying to get the Olympic swimmer “in the right mental state” for Monday night’s show. Ryan and Cheryl will be performing a quickstep to “The Muppet Show Theme” on Monday night, part of the lineup of performances set to TV show theme songs.
With security stepped up, Lochte may not have to worry about protesters interrupting his performance, but Burke states that because he injured his ankle when one of the protesters was tackled by security last night, he may have some issues performing the quickstep.
“The quickstep is all about being on your toes and running around the ballroom so I can see in his face sometimes that he definitely injured his ankle when the protester was tackled by security. But he’s an Olympian and would never tell me he’s in pain. He never complains about anything.”
According to ABC, one couple will be going home on Tuesday night’s live results show, and if Ryan’s performance isn’t up to snuff tonight, he risks being one of the contestants who may be in jeopardy this week.
Last week, Ryan and Cheryl scored a 24 for their performance, putting them close to the bottom of the leaderboard. This week’s elimination will be based on the combined scores from Monday night’s “TV Night” performances and the total fan votes from both weeks.
Considering Ryan came on the show not long after his Rio Olympics robbery claims made headlines, his previously large fan base may not serve him quite so well when it comes to getting the votes he needs to stay on track to win the DWTS Season 23 Mirrorball trophy.
However, Cheryl Burke seems to be confident that Ryan will move forward, writing in her People blog that he has been “working his butt off” and fans will see “a new side of Ryan” during his Week 2 performance on Monday night.
Watch the Dancing with the Stars Week 2 two-night event on Monday, September 19 and Tuesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Featured Image by Disney ABC Press]