Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was booted from “Dancing With the Stars” tonight after he and the six other competitors performed a Halloween-themed routine and a competitive dance-off with judges and viewers choosing the winners of those second-round match-ups live.
The highest scorer in the individual round –- IndyCar race car driver James Hinchcliffe -- was immune from elimination tonight.
When Lochte joined the show’s season 23 he said he was hoping to redeem his reputation after admitting he exaggerated a robbery claim during the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. His "Dancing" debut was even marred by two protestors who stormed the ballroom floor while wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts.
After his fate was announced, co-host Erin Andrews asked Lochte what he’d learned from his time on the show.
“I learned a lot about myself, that I could -- no matter how hard I get knocked down I can keep fighting,” he said, adding that he loved the “family” on the show. “I’m sad I’m going home but everyone here has touched me in a special place ... .”
Before the elimination was announced, each dancer performed an individual number and then danced against another competitor in one of three dance-offs for extra points.
Tonight’s high scorers: The first round of competition ended in a three-way tie for first place.
Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s ethereal Viennese Waltz touched the three-judge panel. Bruno Tonioli said the routine almost brought him to tears. “That was a truly magical Halloween treat, sweet, rich, tender ... the lyricism of your movement, your flow, it was a Viennese wonder waltz. Beautiful,” he said. Carrie Ann Inaba actually grew emotional as she praised the performance. “Your dancing was divine,” Inaba said. Hernandez and her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, earned three 10s, for a perfect score of 30 out of a possible 30 points.
Shortly after Hernandez danced, Calvin Johnson Jr. wowed the judges with his snappy quickstep with pro partner Lindsay Arnold. “We’re under the spell of Calvin the Voodoo Master,” Tonioli intoned, adding: “It was superb! Superb.” Julianne Hough said the pair captured the theme of the night without compromising the integrity of the style of dance, and Inaba said the pair filled the dance floor with “fantastic” content. Johnson, a former NFL player, received the second perfect score of the night from judges.
Hinchcliffe also earned a perfect 30 for his Viennese waltz with Jenna Johnson. Sharna Burgess, Hinchcliffe’s regular partner, was sidelined tonight with a knee injury but he didn’t miss a beat. “It just goes to show that you are the real deal because you can dance with any partner and knock it out of the park!” Hough told Hinchcliffe.
With a tie for first place, immunity was given to the dancer with the highest cumulative judges’ score of the season. Hinchcliffe won, and also picked up an additional five judges’ points.
For the dance-off, the remaining six dancers had to dance either a cha-cha, salsa or jive. Because they didn’t know which dance they’d be assigned until just before the second round of competition began, the competitors had to learn all three dance styles in addition to the individual routine from the first round.
The dance-off: The winner of each match-up earned an extra 3 points.
Calvin Johnson Jr. vs. Laurie Hernandez, jive: Hernandez won.
Terra Jolé vs. Jana Kramer, salsa: Kramer won.
Ryan Lochte vs. Marilu Henner, cha-cha: Lochte won.
James Hinchcliffe and Jenna Johnson: 30; 5. Total: 35
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 30 + 3. Total: 33
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 27 + 3; Total: 30
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 30
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: Total: 23 + 3. Total: 26 (They were eliminated tonight.)
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 24;
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 23