Do you have what it takes to be the Ultimate Coyote? That's the question Country Music Television (CMT) reality show The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search asks in its second season.
Memphis' Coyote Ugly opened on Beale last May, and has enjoyed success on the street that bar owner Liliana Lovell refers to as "the Urban Bourbon."
Lovell was in town last week for the taping of season two's finale, which follows girls from five cities (New York, Charlotte, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, and Memphis) in their bid to outsmart and outshine one another for the coveted Coyote gig. The competition pairs the "wannabes" with bar veterans as they compete for $25,000 each and, of course, reality-show celebrity.
Memphis Coyote Bri teamed up with wannabe Sandra, and, well, that's about all I can tell you, as I was threatened with bodily harm if I so much as hinted at the outcome. The show doesn't air until March, and the winner won't be revealed until May.
But Saturday night, the Beale Street bar was packed for the final taping, and by 10 p.m., the place was raging.
As a crowd of mostly male patrons screamed their approval, competitors jumped atop the bar to dance, sing, and cajole onlookers to drink more. A blonde in cutoffs and a red bustier sings and boot-scoots across the length of the bar with a little help from Kenny Rogers. Then Limp Bizkit's "Nookie" cranks up, and the bar is now host to two Coyotes in matching stars-and-stripes bikinis. The patriotic duo work the crowd into a frenzy as they hold buckets high above their heads and pour water over their arched bodies. More buckets appear, and it's time for a full-on water fight. Not to be outdone, two more gals climb atop the bar for a "catfight" that results in their shirts being ripped off. Hey, this is a competition, and all's fair in love and reality TV.
When they call for female bar patrons to join them, non-Coyotes pile onto the bar. After one of the women clambers down, I ask if it was fun.
"Hell, yeah!" she screams. She and her husband have driven up from Booneville, Mississippi, to be part of reality-TV history. I ask if she gets jealous having her hubby gawk at the scantily clad ladies.
"No way. They do all the work, and I enjoy the benefits later," she says with a grin, one eyebrow shooting wickedly upward. Seems there was a payoff that night for more than just Coyotes, and there's nothing wrong with that.
CMT's The Ultimate Coyote Search premieres March 30th.