"She's my baby sister, but I'm learning lessons from her every single day, just about how to be an amazing human being," Hough told PEOPLE at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Saturday

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Derek Hough is seen backstage at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 18, 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty

Derek Hough has his sister's back.

Julianne Hough faced backlash recently after it was announced that she would be judging a new CBS series called The Activist, which would follow six activists from around the world. The show was quickly dubbed "tone deaf," and many brought up her Halloween blackface costume back in 2013.

On Sept. 14, Julianne responded to the backlash in a lengthy Instagram post, claiming, "I am not qualified to act as a judge." The show is now being reworked into a documentary.

When asked about his sister's response, Derek told PEOPLE at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Saturday, "I'm proud of her, man. I think she's an amazing, amazing woman. I mean, she's my baby sister, but I'm learning lessons from her every single day, just about how to be an amazing human being."

He added, "She's just growing so much and it just, I just, I'm in awe of her all the time. She's awesome."

Derek, of course, is busy himself. On Saturday night, he was introducing Coldplay at the music festival. Come Monday, he'll start shuttling back and forth between Los Angeles and Sin City, as not only is he a judge on Dancing with the Stars, but he's also set to begin a Vegas show at The Venetian in which he, what else, dances. 

"I'm so excited to do this show. We have a live band, all the different types of music from Motown, rock and roll, big band music. We have Latin dancing, ballroom dancing, tap, dance, and contemporary," he shared. "I mean, it's just all different genres, and it's almost insane."

One of Derek's dancers is his girlfriend, Hayley Erbert, and the couple just won an Emmy for a routine they did together. 

While the dance pro doesn't get intimidated dancing with his lady, he does sometimes get frenzied.

"I have to check myself sometimes with her around. When you're rehearsing and you're talking, sometimes you can get a little crazy, but it's all with love. It's all with love," Derek admitted. "We have a great time together."