U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte had just finished his performance with pro-dancer Cheryl Burke and was receiving his critiques from the judges when two men burst onto the stage. They stood between the performers and the camera while judge Carrie Ann Inaba was speaking, and security quickly tackled the two men to the ground.
Host Tom Bergeron called the incident "really unnerving," adding, "we were shocked." Lochte said it felt like "someone reached inside and ripped my heart out and stepped on it."
Viewers couldn't see what was going on, and members of the audience weren't sure what they were seeing.
"I literally got out of my chair," actor Alphonso Ribeiro said. "Then I stopped myself because I thought, is this part of the show?"
But it was not.
"It wasn't really until I saw Carrie Ann's expression had changed that I got the sense something more was going on," Bergeron said. "By the time I saw the two guys coming with their T-shirts, our security team had them sucking floor."
Fellow judge Julianne Hough said that she also didn't know if it was a big attack because of "the world we live in today" and it was frightening.
Security removed the pair and turned them over to the LAPD. They were later arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, but the protest went on, prompting dancer Derek Hough to intervene.
"My concern went to that Derek not get hurt, because he leaped in defense of the show," Bergeron said.
ABC went to a roughly four-minute break while the situation was contained by security, and gold-medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez's performance followed as planned. The incident was brief, but upsetting
"So many feelings going through my heart right now," Lochte said. "A little hurt."
Bergeron is being praised for staying cool and true to the old maxim "the show must go on."
"Times of crisis, if you will, certainly bring people together," he said. "And in this case, it was certainly true."
Inside the ballroom, the audience sided not with the protesters, but with Lochte. For his part, the Olympian is grateful for a second chance: an opportunity to make amends with the public.
Lochte has come under harsh criticism after admitting that he embellished on an incident during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He and other members of the U.S. Olympic swimming team had reportedly caused damage at a gas station and were ordered to pay money by armed security guards.
Lochte had told the press that he was robbed at gunpoint.
After the show was over, Inaba took to Instagram to thank the show's security guards.
The protesters who were arrested, Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi, were released Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Their bail had been set at $1,000. They have a court date set for on October 4, 2016.