‘DWTS’ Season 23: Laurie Hernandez leads the pack, Ryan Lochte not ‘quitting’ after debut disruption
(ABC) -- Competitors pulled out all the stops tonight on the second week of “Dancing With the Stars”with performances set to the theme songs of their favorite TV shows.
Tonight’s broadcast was free of the ballroom drama that dominated last week’s season 23 premiere, when protesters rushed the stage in protest of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochteduring a critique of his ballroom debut, leaving the singer and his pro partner shaken but unhurt.
The two men who stormed the stage apparently were protesting Lochte’s claim that he had been robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro -- a claim local police disputed and Lochte later acknowledged was exaggerated.
Speaking in a video that aired tonight before he performed, Lochte said the protest -- and seeing his mother’s tears in reaction -- affected him deeply.
“Last week was rough but I’m an Olympian. I didn’t win six gold medals by quitting,” he said. But his resolve didn’t translate into high scores for him.
At the end of the night, Olympian Laurie Hernandez topped the leaderboard with 32 out of a possible 40 points, while former Texas Gov. Rick Perry again brought up the rear, earning 22 points.
The judges’ scores and viewer votes from tonight will be combined with those from last week’s premiere, and the star with the lowest combined total of judges’ scores and viewer votes will be eliminated during tomorrow’s broadcast.
Tonight’s show included a cameo appearance by actress Florence Henderson, who reprised her role as Carol Brady during co-star Maureen McCormack’s cha-cha to the theme of their sitcom “The Brady Bunch.” Another highlight came when actor Jaleel White appeared backstage to surprise Calvin Johnson Jr. after the football player’s foxtrot in which he channeled White’s best-known character, Steve Urkel, during a dance set to the theme song from “Family Matters.”
Tonight’s standout moments: Despite describing himself as shy, music producer extraordinaire Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds delivered a smoldering, crowd-pleasing Argentine tango to the theme of “The X-Files” -- and the four judges appreciated it, too. Judge Julianne Hough told Edmonds he was a “very unexpected surprise,” while Bruno Tonioli said the routine was “enigmatic ... [and] intriguing with just the right level of simmering sensuality bubbling under the surface.” Edmonds earned two 8s and two 7s, for a total of 30 points.
In another standout moment, reality TV star Terra Jolé earned 31 points for her quickstep, with judges praising the technical details of her routine. “My darling, we are all under your spell,” Tonioli said, commending her timing, direction changes and footwork, and then adding: “That was the most complete and [well-rounded] quickstep we’ve ever seen.”
Tonight’s high scorer: Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez earned 32 points for her jive set to the theme of “Duck Tales.” “I thought it was full of snap, crackle and pop. High energy, high performance level and another high score. Well done,” said head judge Len Goodman.
Judges’ Scores (last week’s scores plus tonight’s)
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 31; 32. Total: 63
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 31; 29. Total: 60
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 27; 29. Tota: 56
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 25; 31. Total: 56
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker: 26; 30. Total: 56
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 27; 29. Total: 56
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 26; 28. Total: 54
Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) and Witney Carson: 25; 26. Total: 51
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24; 24. Total: 48
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 24; 24. Total: 48
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 22; 26. Total: 48
Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson: 22; 24. Total: 46