‘Love Island’ returned last night and bookies have already chosen their winner…
Festival season has returned, ‘Love Island’ is back on our screens and all is right in the world once again.
Love Island is back in session for another season, this time with a few minor changes. Kicking off in true style last night, the Whitmore strutted her way into the villa to introduce this year’s contestants to the public – ignoring the awkward silences and doing her best to make everyone feel at home in their new sleeping quarters.
— Molly ???? (@mollyymacp) June 6, 2022
Unsurprisingly, the first episode was a little slow to warm up, but such is always the case and I have no doubt we’ll all be completely hooked in no time. “Can’t wait to debrief the show in disgusting detail for the whole summer,” a colleague texted me about five minutes in… and that is *exactly* what we plan on doing for the next six(ish) weeks. I think we can all agree that the tweets, memes and post-episode commentary are the best parts anyway.
As some of you may have noticed, producers have done their best to switch things up a bit this year and last night’s ep introduced a few changes to the usual running order. From a new villa to more audience involvement and cutting ties with fast fashion, here’s what viewers can expect from the 2022 summer of love.
New season, new contestants, new gaff
Moving the setup from Sant Llorenç des Cardassar to the green and mountainous landscape in the east of the island, this year’s antics will still take place in Mallorca but will be set in a different sprawling Spanish villa (the original location was unavailable for filming this year).
Rumoured to be worth an estimated £2.57 million (around €3 million), the new building is bigger than the last though has many of the same features – including a fire pit, communal sleeping area, hideout, makeup/dressing room, outdoor kitchen and a 20m swimming pool.
Naturally, the place had a full Love Island going over before contestants were allowed to enter and the villa has been fitted out with a confessional beach hut, as well as plenty of cameras and microphones hoping to catch secret conversations and dramatic breakups.
Explaining the reasoning behind some of the design changes, executive producer, Mike Spencer, admitted that it’s the “biggest bedroom” the show has ever had. “So, basically the idea behind this was we wanted to take it back to what it used to be in the early series where they’re opposite each other. So yeah, it has that because I think there’s so much more banter when you’re cross and going to bed at night.
“It’s the first time, I think, that we’ve designed it more editorially,” Spencer continued. “We know how many chat areas we need, we know you want those places you can sneak off to.”
The new villa has also brought back the “dog house” – a foldout bed in the living room where those exiled to sleeping alone will spend the night.
Eat, sleep, rewear, repeat
Yes, the whispers are true; fast fashion has finally given Love Island the ick.
Last month, producers revealed that contestants would wear pre-loved fashion this season in line with their new partnership with eBay. Already facing much public backlash for its previous associations with brands such as Missguided, Boohoo and I Saw It First, the reality series is clearly taking viewer feedback seriously and this marks the first time that a show with such a huge following/platform has gone against the grain and opted to support the circular economy instead.
“We strive to be a more eco-friendly production, with more focus on ways in which we can visibly show this on screen,” executive producer Mike Spencer told Vogue Business of the decision.
“The impact of Love Island and its stars across the UK is undeniable and together we want to inspire the nation to choose preloved first when shopping. Even if this means buying or selling one or two preloved items to start with, it’s a step in the right direction,” Jemma Tadd, head of fashion at eBay UK added.
Even Laura Whitmore got on board with the outfit repeater mentality, recycling her first Love Island outfit for the occasion. Reworking an old Joshua Kane pantsuit into a waistcoat and shorts, the designer later gave it his seal of approval, writing that it was “the perfect [example] of bespoke up-cycling”.
The new sponsorship deal with eBay throws an interesting spanner in the works, in terms of future collaborations for contestants, so it will be interesting to see whether the commitment to slow fashion continues outside the villa too.
What say you?
This season has already put huge emphasis on audience participation, with episode one giving pretty much all of the power to us, at home. Confirming that viewers would be the ones to pair couples up this year, Iain Stirling (a.k.a. the voice behind the series’ iconic commentary) told Christine Lampard that the show would be “mixing things up this year”.
“Basically, this year, for the first year ever, we want you guys at home to play Cupid and you will have your say on which boy couples up with which girl. All you have to do is go over to the Love Island app and decide who you want to couple up with who,” he said.
The first time that the series has ever given such control to spectators, the move came as a huge surprise to islanders who were shocked to learn that they wouldn’t be picking their own partners themselves. Contestants may not have been thrilled to learn the news, but it’s a very calculated move on Love Island’s part who are keen to keep the public as engaged as possible.
With viewing figures usually in the millions, the show has already proven itself adept at drawing people in… but giving us more say in what goes on is a great tactic for keeping people interested and involved throughout the show’s marathon run each summer. Audience engagement is a critical part of why the show does so well each year – we’re no longer passive bystanders but active participants, which encourages us to become more invested in the lives of those inside the villa. Not only that, but it usually leads to more drama too, which is what makes great reality TV.
re watching love island and i have literally rewinded curtis telling amy he can’t cuddle her because he’s wants to make everyone coffee in the morning about 5 times why is it making me lol so much
— ? gee vach (@georgia_vacher) February 9, 2022
I’m still waiting for a moment that tops Curtis telling Amy that he’d rather make everyone coffee than cuddle – 2022 better deliver!
Winner, winner, £50 grand dinner
We may be only *one* episode in, but the bookies already have their sights set on a winner, with Gemma Owens one of the early favourites so far. The daughter of former footballer Michael Owens, Gemma had over 13,000 Instagram followers even before going into the villa (she’s since shot up to 147,000) and is 5/2 to go all the way.
Tasha Ghouri, Love island’s first deaf contestant is another top choice, coming in just ahead of Gemma as the 2/1 favourite. Who knows though, things change by the second in there so it’s anyone’s guess who will take the £50,000 prize money.