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Why Dancing With The Stars' Jeannie Mai Had To Leave The Show Early

jeannie mai dancing with the stars
(Image credit: abc press)

Dancing with the Stars' post-Halloween episode was originally set to be a pretty drastic one for the contestants, with double the performances (thanks to the Relay Dances concept) and double the eliminations. Unfortunately, that plan is now shifting after contestant and fashion expert Jeannie Mai dropped the sudden announcement that she had to exit the show due to health complications, and will not be returning to DWTS for the remainder of Season 29.

As it was initially revealed on ABC's Good Morning America, Jeannie Mai was recently diagnosed with epiglottitis, a potentially life-threatening condition that happens when the cartilage covering one's windpipe swells up and blocks air from reaching the lungs. She has been hospitalized in the meantime while awaiting a medical procedure to hopefully correct the issue.

Below is the statement that Jeannie Mai shared with Good Morning America, who then shared it with their viewers.

My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery. I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here. I have pushed myself to the limits mentally and physically, and I am so proud of how far we've come.

Now that she has officially exited Dancing with the Stars, Jeannie Mai and her pro dancing partner Brandon Armstrong have placed ninth overall in the Season 29 competition, outlasting such celebs as NBA great Charles Oakley, actress Anne Heche, and Tiger King headline-maker Carole Baskin. (Even if host Tyra Banks didn't always get the elimination part right.) In the most recent "Villains Night" episode, Mai and Armstrong's Hannibal Lecter-infused paso doble actually landed them in the bottom two, but they managed to squeak past the night's eliminated couple of Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy.

After the news was revealed, Brandon Armstrong released his own statement on the matter on camera for Good Morning America, saying:

Guys, we are devastated by the news that we're gonna have to cut the season short, but Jeannie's health does come first. Thank you to all the fans that have helped to get us this far, and we are praying for a speedy recovery from Jeannie.

In case that seemed too brief, Brandon Armstrong also took to Instagram for a longer message to his Dancing with the Stars partner, championing her journey on the show and wishing her a quick recovery while she's away from it.

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To be expected, Dancing with the Stars also put out its own statement on the matter that reflected what Brandon and others have said in the wake of Jeannie Mai's news going public.

Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery.

"Villains Night" was nearly followed by another possible hospitalization after it was revealed that pro dancer Cheryl Burke smacked her head on the ground while rehearsing with partner AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys fame. Fortunately, that situation wasn't as damaging as it could have been.

With the Relay Dance episode now set to just feature a single elimination, Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET. While waiting to hear updates about Jeannie Mai's health, head to our Fall TV 2020 premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.