‘American Idol’ Alum-Turned-Pastor Stevie Flockhart Arrested in Memphis

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Former “American Idol” contestant Steven “Stevie” Flockhart has been charged with identity theft and theft of property in Memphis, according to local news station WATN. Now the lead pastor at a popular church there, Flockhart nearly made it through Hollywood Week on two seasons of “American Idol” in 2010 and 2011, before deciding to go into ministry.

Flockhart was arrested on November 2, 2023, per WATN, and was released the next day after posting a $2,000 bond. He appeared in a Memphis courtroom to face the charges on November 6, and is due to return on November 20, the station reported.

The singer-turned-pastor has spoken publicly about some of his experiences on “Idol,” including a 2012 video about how he initially ignored thoughts of starting a church because he “got caught up in chasing the dream of winning ‘American Idol.'”

Here’s what you need to know:

Pastor Stevie Flockhart Is Accused of Using a Church Member’s Name & Information to Open a New Credit Card

Flockhart tried to start churches in Georgia and Florida, he told the Leadership Conversations podcast in 2022, before moving to Memphis to create the 901 Church in 2019. According to 901’s  website, he is lead pastor there and the church has two worship locations. Flockhart has been accused by one of his parishioners of theft and fraud.

In 2019, Flockhart and the parishioner opened a joint credit card specifically for the new church, according to court documents reviewed by WREG. The victim said Flockhart “called him and requested his personal information, which he reluctantly gave,” the station reported.

In September 2023, per WREG, the church member noticed his credit score had “dropped a significant amount.” Searching for a reason why, he discovered that a separate credit card through PayPal had been opened using his name. The credit card now has approximately $6,410 in unpaid charges, WREG reported.

When the church member said he approached Flockhart about the credit card, per WREG, the pastor admitted to opening it without the person’s permission. A loan company confirmed that though he used a different name, Flockhart did provide his own phone number on the application, the station reported.

While media reports have not revealed the identity of the alleged victim, 901 Church outed the church member in a statement posted on Facebook after Flockhart’s arrest. It also stated that the church does “not find the allegations factual” and that “we believe that vindication is from God and firm in His sovereignty and truth.”

An online petition was started via Change.org on September 28 by “concerned citizens” pushing for a criminal fraud investigation into Flockhart for “misuse of money.” At the time of publication, 111 people had signed the document, which accuses Flockhart of “living a lavish lifestyle off the backs of his parishoners.”

WREG spoke with multiple people whose church memberships were revoked after they complained about Flockhart to church elders.

When former church member Scott Hibbard learned about the charges against Flockhart, he told FOX 13, “This wasn’t at all what was explained to us. We were told this was something like he named dropped somebody on accident.”

This isn’t the first time Flockhart’s been accused of identity theft. According to an affidavit viewed by WREG, he was sued in 2020 on accusations of forging documents and impersonating the account holder of a credit card at a separate church in Georgia.

Stevie Flockhart’s Wife Said He Became ‘Obsessed’ With Music

Flockhart has talked publicly about his experience during one season of “American Idol,” but according to archived blogs and chat rooms reviewed by Heavy, he made it to Hollywood on two seasons — season 9, which aired in early 2010, and on season 10 the following year.

In August 2012, Flockhart and his wife Whitney appeared in a video for West Ridge Church in Georgia to talk about his former “obsession” with becoming a music star, including joining a boy band and moving to Nashville in 2001. Flockhart said that at times, he felt “God was calling” on him to start a church, but he ignored that instinct to keep pursuing music.

Whitney then said in the video, “When Stevie and I met he was so consumed with, you know, vocal lessons, piano lessons, all these kinds of things. And I didn’t really have a problem with it. We both love music and it was just kind of a cool thing. Once we got married, that obsession didn’t dwindle at all. It actually magnified.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but … it became an idol,” Flockhart explained, excusing the pun. “I just wanted to do this not for what I was called to do years earlier, in the ministry, but I just loved the hype. Loved, you know, going to a different city every night. Loved maybe the money that could be involved.”

When “American Idol” held auditions in Atlanta, he said, he stood in line with thousands of hopefuls, estimating that out of 15,000 contestants at the Georgia Dome, “they chose about 11 of us to go to Hollywood.” He said in the video he auditioned for judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, who first appeared together on the show in season 10, when Scotty McCreery won the show.

“I’ll never forget it,” Flockhart said. “I look back now and God had to be all over it because I forgot the words to the easiest stupid song in history. I forgot the words. Randy (said), ‘Hey dawg, you know, cut it!’ He said, ‘You can’t forget the lyrics, you know. Get out. You’re out of here.’

“But there was still something deep inside of me that said, ‘Man, you could have won this show.'” Flockhart said. “You forgot some stupid lyrics.”

There’s evidence, though, that Flockhart was also part of season 9, which featured a different set of judges, though Jackson was part of the panel. Flockhart is seen briefly in the Atlanta audition episode from season 9, which was eventually won by folk rocker Lee DeWyze.

In a recap of season 10’s Hollywood Week, Idol Chatter reported that Flockhart had also made it to Hollywood the previous year but “admits he got ‘extremely nervous’ during Hollywood Week and let a ‘huge opportunity slip away.'” The outlet also shared that Flockhart said he “spent hours working with Lee DeWyze and Casey James last year and uses that as inspiration.”

In the West Ridge video, Flockhart said he bought a plane ticket to New York to attend the next season’s auditions, which would have been his third attempt, saying he was “determined” to win it the show.

“I knew, like, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m winning this stinking thing this year,” he recalled.

However, on the way to the airport, he said, he started speaking out loud to God about his desire for fame and money through music, and eventually felt compelled to turn his car around, drive home and tell Whitney that they were meant to start a church instead.

“There’s just those moments of truth, you know,” he said, “and I feel like mine was in that car.”

Multiple outlets, including WREG, have reported that Flockhart also appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2012. His church bio says he was “selected as a contestant” for the show.

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