Dancing with the Stars NZ: Nadia Lim's partner Aaron confronts judge's jive critique

It's semi-finals week on Dancing With The Stars NZ, and the dancefloor is definitely heating up for the remaining contestants.

With a theme of 'Favourite Artist & Country,' celebrity chef and TV personality Nadia Lim and her professional dance partner Aaron Gilmore performed a jive to Blondie's iconic 1980 hit "Call Me". 

However, the jive didn't jell all that well with the judges.

Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, despite praising the way Lim has "blossomed through the series", was quick to point 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," the judge told Lim.

At this point, Gilmore decided to intervene.

"I'm sorry, I have to stand up guys. I've got a daughter and I've got to look at them in the eyes.

"This lady has worked harder than any person I've ever danced with... she pushes, she pushes, she pushes... and sometimes, I think we have to reward actually this journey instead of squashing light... this woman has shown more light than anyone."

While his impassioned interjection received cheers from the crowd, Sacre-Dallerup was not about to dance around the subject.

"We're here to do a job too, and judge what we're seeing," she said.

"This is an extremely strong semi-final, everyone who is here is worthy... but if I'm going to tell everybody else they're not doing the footwork right then I'm going to tell Nadia... and that footwork was not finalist footwork."

In the end, Nadia and Aaron scored a not-so-jazzy 23 out of 30, the lowest score of the night.

Manu Vatuvei and Loryn Reynolds scored a 27 with their paso doble, while William Waiirua and Amelia McGregor got a 26 for their Argentine tango.

Later in the night, Clinton Randell and Brittany Coleman received a 28 for their waltz, and Laura Daniel and Shae Mountain pulled a perfect score for their paso doble.

Dancing With The Stars NZ airs live at 7pm Sundays and 7:30pm Mondays on Three. Previous episodes can be viewed on ThreeNow.