Jeannie Mai's Mom Crashes ET Interview to Give Daughter 'DWTS' Advice

No one wants Jeannie Mai to win Dancing With the Stars more than her mom, Olivia TuTram Mai!

Throughout season 29 of the dance competition show, Mama Mai has been rooting for her daughter (and pro partner Brandon Armstrong) to take home the coveted mirrorball trophy. While judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli have provided plenty of helpful feedback for the dance duo over the past few weeks, no one has been harder on Jeannie than her mother. In video packages that have aired on the show, Mama Mai has joked about deporting her daughter to Vietnam if she doesn’t “do a better job” dancing.

That being said, when Mama Mai found out ET would be interviewing Jeannie and Brandon during a break from one of their Top 11 Night rehearsals, she hilariously crashed our Zoom chat, even showing up with a handmade microphone.

Big News My Fam!🤩 TOMORROW Mama Mai will be on Entertainment Tonight📺 to interview🎤 🌏world facemous Dancing With The Star: Jeannie Mai👏👏👏!!! … Mama Mai make my own microphone! 10/18 Tonight 7:30P PST We help my daughter and @brandonarmstrong win #DWTS 😉 Make sure u voting tomorrow after u watch Mama Mai kakakakaka!!!

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“OK, last week you guys got 8, 8, 8. High score, really good. I’m so proud of you and I’m so surprised,” she told Jeannie and Brandon, asking, “Do you think you can maintain that and go up a 9, 9, 9, or 10, 10, 10?” 

“Listen, first of all, I’m trying my best,” Jeannie replied. “I am not a dancer, remember that. I’ve never taken dance lessons, I’ve never performed in front of people at this scale so I’m going to do my best, but I’m with you. I don’t want to go backwards in numbers. I don’t want to go down in 8s. It’s more competitive, we have to stay on. We don’t want to be in the bottom two, so I’m going to try my best, Mom.”

Mama Mai’s next question was directed at Brandon. “What’s your first impression about the Mama Mai, Brandon?” she asked.

“My first impression is that I never wanna piss you off,” he replied, laughing. “I gotta stay on your good side!”

All jokes aside, however, Jeannie couldn’t be prouder to represent her family on DWTS.

We are halfway thru the competition and @brandonarmstrong has become the lil bruh I never wanted 🤣 Can't wait to share our emotional dance tonight!! #DWTS #TeamDreamofJeannie (Link in bio for my yellow #Firstable @hellohunnayshow top ☝)

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“I can definitely say the whole reason why I am an entertainer is because of my mom,” The Real co-host gushed. “As soon as I could walk or speak, she told me what the family did to get to where they are. I knew as a little kid, my family were refugees. I knew that I had earned my citizenship because of what my family went through.”

This week, Jeannie and Brandon will be dancing a Rumba to “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree. She says it is “a tribute song” to her family, and all the struggles they faced to give her a better life.

“The song is very, very meaningful to the story behind my dance. Brandon took so much time to choreograph something very specific to this week’s story,” she teased. “My entire existence and my identity, the reason I get to be on Dancing With the Stars, is because of what my family went through. My family are boat people, they are immigrants that went through treacherous situations in order to get to America and start our family.”

“I am first generation. I am the oldest in my family that kind of kicked off being an American citizen, so my entire dance and the song is because of my family survival,” she continued. “It is going to be brilliant.”

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 with the Mais!

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