‘The Real’ host Jeannie Mai exits ‘Dancing With the Stars’ due to health scare

Jeannie Mai dances with Brandon Armstrong
TV host Jeannie Mai and pro dancer Brandon Armstrong perform on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
(Eric McCandless / ABC)

TV host Jeannie Mai is the latest celebrity contestant to leave “Dancing With the Stars.” Hers is due to a health scare.

In a Monday statement to “Good Morning America,” Mai announced her departure from the ABC program after being diagnosed with a sometimes life-threatening inflammatory condition called epiglottitis, which can restrict airflow to the lungs due to swelling.

“My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery,” the “Real” star’s message read. “I’m heartbroken that my ‘DWTS’ journey has to end here. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come.”

According to ABC, only one competitor will be sent home on Monday’s forthcoming episode of “DWTS” — which was previously supposed to be a double-elimination show — “in light of the news.”


“Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication,” the “DWTS” team told “GMA” upon her exit.

On “Dancing With the Stars” and “One Day at a Time,” journeywoman Justina Machado may be fall TV’s biggest star. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

Shortly after the announcement, “DWTS” pro Brandon Armstrong penned a lengthy and heartfelt Instagram goodbye to his famous dance partner, thanking her for “an amazing season” and wishing her “a speedy recovery.”

“JEANNIE! I’m so sorry this happened to you! You don’t deserve it!” he wrote. “Your journey on this show was so special so unique and so inspiring! I loved EVERY SINGLE WEEK that we got to go through this together!

“I hope I helped give you an experience that you’ll remember forever! We share a lot of good times, tough times and all the times in between but mainly, a lot of laughs! Mainly you laughing at me but hey I’ll take it!”

During last week’s Halloween-themed “Villains” episode, Mai and Armstrong were nearly booted from the competition after ending up in the bottom two. But it was “Cheer” coach Monica Aldama and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, who finally got the ax from the judges.

Still in the running for the coveted Mirrorball trophy are “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe, Disney Channel actress Skai Jackson, “One Day at a Time” star Justina Machado, Backstreet Boys artist AJ McLean, “Hot in Here” rapper Nelly, “Catfish” host Nev Schulman, “Selling Sunset” Realtor Chrishell Stause and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir.

Mai’s withdrawal notwithstanding, six stars — including Aldama, NBA athlete Charles Oakley, NFL player Vernon Davis and “Tiger King” breakout” Carole Baskin — have exited the 29th season so far.