Tyra Banks Reacts to Jeannie Mai's 'DWTS' Exit, Explains How the Show Will Go on Without Her (Exclusive)

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The Dancing With the Stars cast and crew is sending love to Jeannie Mai.

ABC announced on Monday that The Real co-host was abruptly leaving the competition due to "a health concern that requires immediate attention." ET has learned that The Real co-host underwent surgery and is resting.

Just moments after news broke on Monday, ET spoke with host Tyra Banks, who reacted to the unfortunate situation. "I was very caught by surprise," she shared. "I think she's one of the strongest dancers here. She's so effervescent, so warm and so sweet. Even just running into her in the hallways here, we were social distanced so we have to keep walking while we talk, but there's always these moments and I felt very connected to her. So I'm very sad."

"When you see someone and they're doing great, they're doing fine, and then hearing something like this, it's just very sad," Tyra continued, adding that no one on set seemed to notice any signs that anything was wrong. "No, not at all. Which is so interesting. Didn't hear anything, see anything. Nope. Nothing."

Due to Jeannie's abrupt exit, Tyra confirmed to ET that tonight will no longer be a double elimination -- only one of the eight remaining couples will go home. Additionally, the "Relay Dances" will move forward. Jeannie and her pro partner, Brandon Armstrong, were supposed to compete in the Viennese Waltz relay. Now, only two couples -- Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart and Justina Machado and Sasha Farber -- will compete in that dance genre. The other Relay Dance challenges will be 3-on-3. 

"There are a lot of little, tiny changes that the team alerted me on," Tyra said, of how the show will go on amid Jeannie's departure. "They're a very good team and so when something happens, they adjust. Of course, this is not an easy adjustment because emotionally we're all just like, 'Whoa.' But they're gonna make it work."

Jeannie's fellow competitors also took to social media to offer their support and well wishes. Kaitlyn Bristowe was one of the first to weigh in, tweeting, "She was a favorite to watch. Just a little light on that dance floor. Her energy and smile will be missed out there and up in the balcony. We love you Jeannie."

Monica Aldama, who was eliminated with Val Chmerkovskiy last week, also posted a special message to Jeannie, writing, "My sweet @thejeanniemai ❤️❤️❤️ Praying for a speedy recovery and complete restoration of health."

"You were such a light in my DWTS journey.... my friend, my show and tell partner and the sunshine that made me smile," she continued. "Looking forward to reuniting and giving you the biggest hug!"

Partners AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke shared similar sentiments in a joint video shared to their various social media accounts. 

"@jeanniemai, you have been such a light on his show and I will miss having your energy on set. You are in our hearts as you go through this. We love you so much!"

As reported earlier on Monday, Jeannie shared the news of her health condition in a statement to ET.

"It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS. My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery," the statement read. "I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here."

"The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come," the statement continued. "I can't thank my partner Brandon enough for being so supportive and believing in me. I also want to thank MAI fans who voted every week and I wish everyone else in the competition the best of luck!"

Dancing With the Stars airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. In the meantime, tune into Entertainment Tonight on Monday for more from Tyra. Check your local listings here.

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