Fasten your seatbelts and gird your loins… Love Island season is finally here.
Yep, it’s been a whole year since we saw Liam Reardon and Millie Court walk away as the series seven champions, with £50,000 and a plethora of future brand partnerships between them.
The show is returning to our screens on Monday (6 June), where we’ll get to know the new islanders heading into the villa.
It’s hard to tell from the promotional material alone who’s going to do well from this original 11, yet I’ve given it a good go based entirely on my vast knowledge of the show… and not much else.
Inevitably, we can check back in eight weeks time to find that I’ve been proven totally wrong.
With that being said, here are this year’s initial islanders, ranked on how long I think they’ll last in the villa.
Someone has to come last on this list and this year, unfortunately, it’s Davide. Mainly, it’s because he doesn’t give much away. He hails from Rome but lives in Manchester, where the English ladies are apparently “crazy” for his Italian charm. I totally believe it, but it’s hard to know how that charm will translate in the villa. Plus, Davide calls himself an “Italian stallion”, a title fans who’ve been here since the beginning (congratulations/I’m so sorry) will always associate with the bizarre Alberti twins John and Tony from season one, who also used that nickname. The chances of Davide living up to their legacy seems unlikely.
God, Ikenna doesn’t hold back in his opening video, does he? In the first few seconds alone, we get to know the big stuff. The most important thing for him in a girl is her “bunds” (or bum, if you’re not down with the kids). He then proceeds to compare womankind to cars, explaining that the “top tier women” are Bentleys and Lamborginis, while the less good women are Fords or Corsas – “gets you from A to B, but it’s not top tier”. Charming. Obviously, he could totally surprise us in the villa, but the top comment beneath his Twitter video is someone saying they’re “deffo voting him out” – it’s not looking great.
Working full-time as a nanny, Amber says she’s basically a mum Monday to Friday. It’s the weekends where she lets loose, letting her “wild child” side show. Beyond that, we don’t get too much sense of her personality so far. She values girl code, which is good, but is obviously going to put herself first when it comes to dating. Nice enough, although it does feel a bit like a bot writing dialogue for an AI islander. Here’s hoping she’s in the villa long enough to show her true self.
I’ve always found it a little reductive when the new crop of islanders are announced and fans immediately compare them to past contestants. In Andrew’s case, it’s basically pointless, because he looks like every white man to pass through the villa smushed together. Living “the high life” as an estate agent in Dubai after, I assume, a very similar experience growing up in Guernsey, Andrew clearly backs himself in the competition, which could go either way with viewers. He claims he was once banned from a building for hooking up with a client during a viewing, suggesting his life is a little more Selling Sunset than Stath Lets Flats. “I can’t see myself losing, to be honest,” he says. Oh, to be that confident.
Read more about Andrew here.
There’s a tradition of the friends and relatives of famouses doing well on Love Island – Dani Dyer, obviously, is the gold standard here. It’s hard to tell whether Gemma will follow in her footsteps, as her dad, footballer Michael Owen, doesn’t quite have the same “national treasure” status as Danny Sr. The 19-year-old also says she doesn’t want to be known for being his daughter, anyway, and rather as a competitive dressage rider. Not the most relatable of jobs, although she does make it sound more fun by describing it as “dancing on horses”. Gemma says she’s an “alpha female” looking for her own alpha male, and that her number one ick, bizarrely, is men wearing socks with trainers. Erm, sure.
From his promo video, Liam comes across as a loveable sweetheart. He says he falls in love roughly twice a week and shares his genuine shock that raisins and grapes are the same thing, leaving me to question what the producers asked to get him to say that. Other nice comments include: “I thought Elton John was two blokes for 20 years. I just thought it was Elt and John.” Seems gentle enough. However, be warned. Speaking to ITV, Liam said he likes to compliment women by saying they have “piercing” eyes or “nice feet”. Alert, alert: we may have another Jake entering the villa. The nation can handle a lot, but we draw the line at feet guys.
On paper, Tasha has everything you need to win Love Island. She sits in that sweet spot – the perfect mix of genuinely “inspirational” (she’s the first deaf Love Island contestant and has a cochlear implant) and self-deprecating (referring to her dating life as “a shambles”). She’s looking for someone who loves her for who she is, which is lovely, but says she’s struggled to stretch a relationship out longer than five months. Still I have high hopes that Tasha will be a lot of fun AND educate some viewers along the way.
Dublin boy Dami’s chances of sticking around seem strong. He has facial piercings (cool), is into star signs (cool, depending who you ask) and has an Irish accent (universally loved). “99.9 per cent it always works,” he says. “The .9 per cent is if she has a man.” Not quite sure of the logic there, but I’m here for it.
From the moment Indiyah first described herself “stubborn” and “melodramatic”, it was clear this girl will make some great TV. She’s used to seeing a few guys at the same time (a “rotation”, if you will) but her attitude towards dating seems really healthy. In her own words, she’s not a “beg”. “If I feel like you’re with somebody else or somebody else thinks they have a chance, you can p*** off! I feel like if you’re not all about me, then forget it,” she said. Words we could all do with living by.
Read more about Indiyah here.
Every group, Love Island or otherwise, needs the group mum. Paige, it would seem, is that figure – and that’s an archetype that always does well on the show. Yes, listening to her describe how she likes to look after her boyfriends by “putting their work clothes on the radiators in the morning so they’re warm to get into, baking cookies on the weekend, meal prepping for them” made me feel slightly ill. But it’s the friendships with the other girls that I’m really looking forward to and will likely carry her far in this competition. One thing though. Like Gemma, Paige also says seeing a man’s socks above his shoes is a major ick. Is this a thing? What is going on?
In the top spot, it has to be fishmonger Luca. There are plenty of reasons for this. First and foremost, fishmonger is an objectively funny job, ripe with comic potential for Iain Stirling and the inevitable fish-themed challenges. In his promo video alone, Luca describes himself as “so-fish-ticated” and lets the team dress him in a fish-print shirt, so kudos to him for that. Overall, he seems like a man who will do excellently on this show. His bizarre assortment of tattoos are sure to go down well with the ladies in the villa, while the admission that he’s not one for “pumping irons” makes him seem relatable – even if he does have the whitest, straightest teeth I’ve ever seen. Those, in themselves, could clinch the whole thing for him.
Love Island returns Monday 6 June at 9pm on ITV2.