Derek Hough Will Keep Bringing Out Shawn Johnson’s ‘Sexy’ Side on DWTS

Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough

Craig Sjodin/ABC

updated 10/16/2012 AT 7:00 AM ET

originally published 10/16/2012 AT 7:10 AM ET

Paula Abdul called Shawn Johnson a “sexy young lady,” following her near-perfect mambo on Dancing with the Stars Monday night – and the athlete’s partner Derek Hough could not agree more.

“My goal when I first got Shawn as a partner was to take her from a young girl, sweet and innocent, to a mature woman – sexy,” Hough, 27, told reporters backstage after their performance. “And to get those comments from the judges made me feel great.”

As for Johnson, 20 – who says she “felt good” completing the hot number – she explains to PEOPLE why she kept things conservative on the show up until now.

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