Sharna Burgess Removes Bonner Bolton's Hand From Crotch on DWTS

by at .  Updated at .

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess performed the Cha Cha on Monday night to help kick off Dancing with the Stars Season 24.

The professional bull rider and his partner displayed obvious chemistry, earning a respectable debut score of 22 points from the judges ...

... but it was an incident backstage that has everyone talking.

Sharna Burgess and Bonner Bolton Dance

As Erin Andrews waited to talk to Nick Viall and other stars behind the scenes, cameras clearly caught Bolton in a compromising position:

He grabbed Burgess by the crotch!

The dance pro proceeded to remove Bolton's hand and place it on her leg instead, but the awkward damage had already been done.

At least on the Internet today, where blink-and-you-miss-it events that take place in a nanosecond can become enshrined for a lifetime.

This photo will live forever in infamy:

Sharna Burgess and Bonner Bolton

To a point, the ABC show has always thrived on the physical attraction between partners, whose on-stage partnerships can be electric.

They often dance suggestively in their routines, by design. The intention may not be sexual, but the vibe they give off most certainly is.

Every season, there's at least one celebrity-pro tandem who can't keep seem to their eyes and hands off of one another ... on the parquet.

This gives way to obligatory dating rumors, and quite often, votes for the pair in question ... who are almost certainly not dating or hooking up.

But we've never seen anything quite like this.

Bolton told People after the DWTS premiere, not referencing the controversial incident above, but certainly not helping matters whatsoever:

Bonner Bolton with Sharna Burgess

“I was telling her before we started tonight, ‘I can’t look at you for too long. I might get distracted. That’s why I might miss some of my steps.'” 

“She’s obviously beautiful.”

Obviously. But c'mon man.

Burgess also acknowledged the "really obvious chemistry" between the DWTS partners, but said she is trying to keep things "professional."

That could be tough - for bigger reasons than missed steps - if Bolton keeps getting so "distracted" that he makes unwanted advances.

Chemistry is one thing, and to be expected as attractive people dance together. But groping someone who doesn't want to be touched?

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess

We say that in jest. It could have been a simple mistake.

But you can watch the clip and decide for yourself:

[UPDATE: Burgess responded to CrotchGate, saying it was accidental and that her partner is a gentleman who would never take advantage.]

[UPDATE #2: Accidental crotch-grab or not, insiders say Bonner and Sharna are likely hooking up behind the scenes, so stay tuned.]

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We should have started dancing with one arm waaay before.

Cristian de la Fuente [following his injury, trip to the hospital and subsequent stellar performance]

I am not the best dancer, and I have not been the best dancer from the beginning. I am happy we made it this far.

Cristian de la Fuente