'American Idol' has reached a poignant stage as it sets its contestants the task of covering Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder songs with the performances set to air tonight in the latest round of live performances. Initially picked, presumably, for nothing other than the sheer quality of their songs in their respective back catalogues, those singing Whitney will now of course have the added pressure of their performances now being viewed as some sort of tribute to the late star after her passing last month on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

Speaking to ET Online, the contestants admitted that it was a pressure that was bearing rather a lot of weight on their shoulders. "I'm kind of nervous because it's Whitney Houston," contestant Jessica Sanchez said. "There's no voice like hers and people are really judgmental about covering her songs, but we're just going to do the best that we can." It was a sentiment echoed by Shannon Magrane who admitted that it was "intimidating" to sing a Houston song.

Not that the boys will have it too much easier of course, Stevie Wonder's back catalogue is one of the most revered of the past 50 years and his fans will be out in force to judge how successfully the 'Idol' boys will be able to represent it. One contestant, Jermaine Jones, is more than confident that he can do a good job though, stating "I'm going to put my little twist on it.using my gift, my voice, and my lower register with some high [notes]. A lot of people aren't going to be able to expect that-kind of do a little a contrast this week." Bold words JJ.