DWTS Loses a Contestant to Surgery

Jeannie Mai told her throat 'would have closed up'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2020 7:21 AM CST
DWTS Contestant Has to Drop Out for Surgery
TV host Jeannie Mai attends an event in Sydney, Australia, in October 2011.   (Wikimedia/Eva Rinaldi)

Jeannie Mai will have to dance another day. The Real host withdrew from season 29 of Dancing With the Stars on Monday following emergency surgery to correct a potentially life-threatening condition. Mai was diagnosed with epiglottitis, the swelling of the cartilage that covers the windpipe, which can block air flow into the lungs, per People. "I found out that I have a throat abscess, where my tonsils and my throat had gotten so infected that it started permeating to the rest of the areas behind my neck and my ears that I had to get emergency surgery," Mai, 41, told viewers in a pre-recorded segment from a hospital. "If you had waited one more day, your throat would have closed up," a medical professional said.

In a statement, Mai said she was "absolutely devastated that my journey on Dancing with the Stars has to end this way." But "I'm just so thankful I had the experience," she added. "It was hands down one of the best journeys of my life." Her dancing partner, Brandon Armstrong, was "devastated," too, but "Jeannie's health does come first," he said, per Good Morning America. "We are praying for a speedy recovery for Jeannie." Monday’s episode was supposed to feature a double elimination. However, only one couple—Selling Sunset host Chrishell Stause and her partner Gleb Savchenko—was eliminated as a result of Mai's withdrawal, per Entertainment Tonight. Seven couples remain. (More Dancing with the Stars stories.)

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