The uproar unfolded as judge Carrie Ann Inaba was critiquing Lochte's foxtrot with partner Cheryl Burke during the ABC dance contest's season premiere. The camera stayed on Inaba, and viewers didn't see what was happening.
But ABC's "Good Morning America" showed the behind-the-scenes drama Tuesday morning. Host Tom Bergeron called the incident unnerving and applauded the show's security team.
A BBC Worldwide Productions spokesperson said: "Two individuals stormed the dance floor tonight and were immediately subdued and escorted out of the building. The matter is now being handled by the authorities."
The two protesters, wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were cheered on by four women in the audience. Professional dancer Derek Hough came out, yelled at the women to leave and told security to get them out of the studio.
Lochte is seeking redemption after a scandal at the Rio Olympics ended in a 10-month suspension from his sport and cost him four commercial sponsors. He lied about an incident at a gas station.
On Monday's telecast, Bergeron said the show had to go to a commercial break "after a little incident" and thanked the security team "for staying in shape."
Lochte said he was doing good but was "a little hurt" by what had unfolded.
Inaba resumed her comments and said the judges were there only to assess his ballroom dancing. Judge Len Goodman said Lochte had performed to a high level and that people should be proud of him. Lochte earned 24 points out of a possible 40.
The night's leaders were Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who had been expected to do well, and race car driver James Hinchcliffe, who was the night's revelation.
Hernandez performed a cha cha with confidence and precision. Hinchcliffe moved with musicality and grace on a foxtrot. "First lap, first class," judge Bruno Tonioli told him. Hernandez and Hinchcliffe each earned 31 points.
Another huge surprise was the sultry Viennese waltz of singer Jana Kramer. She and partner Gleb Savchenko delivered the provocative routine, which Tonioli said was the raunchiest and sexiest Viennese waltz he had ever seen. Kramer received 27 points.
The night's big stiff was former Gov. Rick Perry, who lumbered through his cha cha and earned 20 points, the lowest score for the night. Tonioli saw a timing problem for the former presidential candidate.
As for the other celebrities: Marilu Henner was overjoyed to be paired with Derek Hough and moved with giddy energy on a jive.
"Megatron" Calvin Johnson Jr. disproved the naysayers who complained he had no dance talent. The judges were impressed by the big man's cha cha.
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds danced a foxtrot, which judge Goodman described as "style with a smile." Edmonds said he was competing to honor his late mother.
Vanilla Ice delivered more of a production number than a cha cha on a splashy routine to his "Ice Ice Baby."
Actor Jake T. Austin survived a very ragged jive. "Brady Bunch" star Maureen McCormick was tentative on her Viennese waltz. The judges gave a pep talk to Amber Rose after a foxtrot revealed she needed more confidence.
But the judges praised the determination of reality star Terra Jole, the first little person ever to compete on any "Dancing With the Stars," a popular franchise around the world.