‘Dancing with the Stars’ season premiere: Ryan Lochte drama nearly overshadows Laurie Hernandez & James Hinchcliffe

The season 23 premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” was eventful, but not always for what happened on the dance floor. After Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte‘s foxtrot with pro partner Cheryl Burke, an altercation took place off-camera between security staff and apparent stage-crashers. Host Tom Bergeron immediately threw to commercial break, and when the show returned Lochte said, “So many feelings are going through my head right now. I’m a little hurt.” Burke then came to Lochte’s defense by saying, “I’m shocked, and I’m hurt for Ryan.”

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter with experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

Lochte ended up receiving straight sixes from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli, for a total of 24, which placed him in the middle of the pack for the night. Inaba told him of his fancy footwork, “You have a lot to work on,” but Goodman followed that with a pep talk, saying, “People should be proud of you.”

After all the commotion the actual competition was at risk of becoming an afterthought, but then gymnast Laurie Hernandez and partner Val Chmerkovskiy closed the season premiere with a cha cha that stole the show. She scored three eights and a seven for a total of 31, with Inaba calling her routine “awesome.” That put her on top of the judges’ leaderboard as our predictions contest entrants correctly anticipated.

Find out how ‘Dancing with the Stars’ will do at the Emmys — Click Here

But Hernandez had to share the top spot with race car driver James Hinchcliffe, who earned raves earlier in the night for his foxtrot with partner Sharna Burgess — “That was a knockout,” Goodman told him. That result came as a big surprise to our predictors, who gave Hinchcliffe distant 100/1 odds of coming out on top.

The bottom of the leaderboard was much less of a surprise. Former Texas governor Rick Perry had overwhelming 1/4 odds of getting the low score, and his clumsy cha cha with partner Emma Slater proved us right: the judges gave him fives across the board for a total of 20. But no one will be eliminated until next week’s two-night event, so he’ll get to dance at least one more time.

Dish ‘Dancing with the Stars’ with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums — Click Here

The complete judges’ leaderboard is as follows:

Laurie Hernandez – 31
James Hinchcliffe – 31
Marilu Henner – 27
Jana Kramer – 27
Babyface – 26
Calvin Johnson – 26
Vanilla Ice – 25
Terra Jole – 25
Ryan Lochte – 24
Amber Rose – 24
Jake T. Austin – 22
Maureen McCormick – 22
Rick Perry – 20

Dish ‘Dancing with the Stars’ with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums — Click Here

Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions for week two of “Dancing with the Stars,” which will be “TV Night.” You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices.

You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “DWTS” in Gold Derby’s reality TV forum.

More News from GoldDerby