Another episode of Dancing With the Stars season 29 has come and gone, and fans are once again calling out new host Tyra Banks for something she did live on the air.
On the Monday, October 19, episode of DWTS, contestant Jeannie Mai shared a story about her family’s journey to the United States after the Vietnam War. Mai said the journey was hard, and she had tears in her eyes when telling a story about her uncle bailing out the boat her family was on to keep it from sinking.
The family was saved by the U.S. Army, Mai revealed on the show. Her eyes were still teary when her performance started, and it was clear that she was trying to compose herself to keep her mind in the dance.
Viewers Say Tyra Banks Made Jeannie Mai’s Story About Her
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If it weren't for my grandmother and the perseverance of my family, I would not exist. Tonight, I dance for the millions of Vietnamese refugees and "boat people" who risked their lives in search of freedom by coming to this country. I am honored to share how my grandparents plotted their escape from communism and how my Uncle Jessie rescued the family at sea. Their story is MY story: one of immense gratitude, love and most of all – hope. I love you Bà Ngoại and Uncle Jessie 🤍 #DWTS #TeamDreamofJeannie (next slide is Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Jessie, my late Uncle Nghĩa, and @themamamai.)
After the performance, the judges raved about the dance and told Mai they were touched by her story. Mai scored 25 out of 30, earning her highest score of the season thanks to a 9 from Bruno Tonioli.
When Tyra stepped in to talk to Mai, fans started tweeting about the host and said she should have stayed out of it, especially after she told Mai that she didn’t realize she was fluent in Vietnamese.
“NOT TYRA SAYING ‘I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE [FLUENT]’ WHEN JEANNIE MAI WAS SPEAKING VIETNAMESE THANKING HER FAMILY FOR ESCAPING VIETNAM TO GIVE HER A BETTER LIFE,” one user tweeted.
Another user was upset about the comment as well and tweeted, “Did Tyra just say ‘I didn’t know you were fluent’ to Jeannie Mai?'”
“not tyra acting shock that jeannie speaks her own language she literally just told us her background #DWTS” another user tweeted.
Others were more upset about Banks taking attention away from Mai during the show.
— Jess (@dazzle715) October 20, 2020
“Shew, Tyra, GURL. Don’t make Jeannie’s moment about you. The fake tears dried up real fast, didn’t they?” another user tweeted.
Viewers Have Criticized Banks’ Performance as Host
Since she first set foot in the ballroom this year, viewers have been critical of Banks’ performance and have expressed that they miss the long-time hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews.
Banks has said she doesn’t let the criticism get to her, though, and since it’s a live program, sometimes things happen and not everyone will be happy with her performance.
In an interview with Extra, judge Derek Hough stood up for Banks and said she has handled herself well and done a good job on the show. He also said Banks handled the week five elimination error from production the right way and that production was actually very happy with the way she conducted herself during the live show.
“You know, the producers came up afterwards and were actually thanking Tyra,” he said. “They were like, ‘Thank you so much,’ like, ‘You handled that so well.’ There was a technical situation happening in the booth.”
He added that he hadn’t heard of anyone on the show being upset with Banks’ performance.
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.