What Aaron Gilmore will be remembered for on this season of Dancing With The Stars

''I have to stand up, guys, sorry. I've got a daughter and I've got to look them in the eyes,'' he said.
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Dancing With The Stars dancer Aaron Gilmore is recognised as one of the show’s most successful performers. He has partnered two winners – Samantha Hayes in 2018 and Lorraine Downes in 2006, and it seems generally accepted that if you’re paired with him you stand a good chance of doing well in the competition.

But this season the veteran dancer will be remembered not for his dancing but for his defiant rant.

On Sunday night’s show he interrupted judge Camilla Sacre-Dallerup as she was critiquing Nadia Lim on the couple’s jive to confront her about her comments.

Both Rachel White and Camilla had praised Nadia for “blossoming” through the series but pointed out “some mishaps and timing issues”.

“I just think in this stage of the competition, to be fair to everybody else, I would expect more spring in your step,” Camilla told Nadia.

Aaron grabbed Sharyn Casey’s mic and began:

“I have to stand up, guys, sorry. I’ve got a daughter and I’ve got to look them in the eyes. This lady has worked harder than any person I’ve ever danced with,” he said.

“I love Sam, I love Lorraine, I’ve won this twice – and she’s [Nadia] done this amazingly, you know she pushes, she pushes she pushes… Sometimes I think we have to reward actually this journey instead of squashing lights… and this woman has shown more light than anyone.”

He pleaded with “the country” to vote for Nadia.

Nadia and Aaron’s Sunday night jive didn’t deliver, the judges said.

While his outburst was rewarded with cheers from the crowd Camilla was less than impressed:

“Let me just finish,” she began. “We’re here to do a job too and judge what we’re seeing and this is an extremely strong semi-final.

“Everybody who are here are worthy, everybody who are here have worked really hard. I’ve said this all along and I’ve said it a million times on social media too: If I’m going to tell everybody else they’re not doing the footwork right I’m going to tell Nadia – and it was not, in my opinion, a finalist’s footwork.”

Camilla’s rebuttal possibly had some sway because on Monday night’s show, despite delivering her strongest dance yet – a foxtrot which she performed blindfolded – Nadia was eliminated.

The popular celebrity chef also revealed on Monday night that she and Aaron had been inundated with women congratulating him for confronting the judges when they’d been out for coffee that morning.

Aaron might “score himself a lady”, she joked.

She thanked Aaron for his support and said he had always had her back.

But even after the show had ended and the credits had started rolling Aaron seemed in disbelief that their time on the show was over.

“She danced in this, she danced blindfolded and backwards – she’s amazing,” he said to members of the audience as he approached them to show them the blindfold Nadia had danced in.

Christchurch-born Aaron is a father of two and a regular with his children Ethan and Grace on the ballroom dancing competitive circuit. He is the owner and director of Phoenix Dance Studios in Kingsland, Auckland.

He has been married before but split with his wife Jaimee in 2010.

Aaron has credited his former wife, a social worker, for helping him work through some very difficult emotions as a result of being sexually abused.

Aaron was sexually abused throughout his teens by Hendrika Margaret Shaskey – a woman 23 years older than him who was found guilty and convicted for crimes against him in 2003.

After the trial Aaron asked the court to lift his automatic name suppression (this suppression applies to all sex offence victims) because he wanted to speak publicly about his ordeal in the hopes of encouraging other victims of sexual crimes to come forward.

Shaskey was the mother of two children that attended the same Christchurch dancing school as Aaron and she and Aaron met at the school when he was just 11 years old.

She formed a relationship with him which continued for some years. Aaron’s parents had allowed him to move in with her as a boarder so that he’d be closer to the dance school he attended.

He finally told someone about his abuse when he was 22.

The live finale of Dancing With The Stars screens on THREE this Sunday, June 16, at 7pm. Who will take home the glitter ball trophy? Clint Randell, Manu Vatuvei, William Waiirua or Laura Daniel?

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