Love Island 2022: I've decided to watch Love Island this year, so you don't have to… but you totally can if you like

This week the confusingly popular reality dating show Love Island returned to our screens. Having never had an interest in the show, I decided to watch it and give an honest take on what I see

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:43 pm

Love Island recently returned for what is its eighth series, which is the cue for a bunch of carefully chosen and painfully attractive singletons who are on the lookout for love, a large cash prize, instant fame (or shame, depending on how you look at it) and endless opportunity for numerous memes and continual groans for those who aren’t fans of the series.

I’m one of those who is unable to stifle a groan and a neck-ache inducing eye-roll just at the thought of watching a collective of people complete a series of challenges, fall out over pointless things like temporarily-felt emotions towards one of the other attending entities (ok, people… or whatever) and so on over the course of however long it takes to suffer for entertainment in order to win that cash prize… and lingering infamy, depending on the show’s editing.

Can you tell I’m not the biggest fan of it all? Anyway… I decided that this time around I would take the hit and that I would watch this concerningly popular car crash of false ideals, love and so on — so you don’t have to… well, you can watch it if you like… your choice.

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We’re a couple of episodes in,and we’ve already seen a few controversial things happen. Whether that’s the age of one of the contestants (who is only 19), a shocking recoupling courtesy of this season's verified male ‘hottie’, he’s called Davide and looks like he’s been created from a dream list of ideal male attributes.

Put simply, this ‘Hottie’ is disconcertingly well groomed, and looks like he’s been crafted out of marble by Da Vinci himself before being perfectly tanned… so yeah, hottie — I guess that’s a term they’d use, as well as such choice words like ‘banter’ and so on.

So far, we have 11 ‘singletons’ or islanders if you will, don’t tell Priti Patel… she’ll have a Home Office field-day, or an aneurysm.

Who are this year’s contestants on Love Island 2022?

Love Island is back on our screens (Image Credit: ITV)

24-year-old Welsh paramedic Paige Thorne, I can’t help thinking that she has an air of the former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas about her. Mainly because she’s Welsh and a brunette… oh and attractive – aren’t they all though. She seems alright and she is matched up with Luca, who she doesn’t seem too sure of.

Next up, Dami Hope, he’s a 26-year-old microbiologist from Dublin - I had to Google 'Microbiologist’. He’s on the lookout for some new experiences, so why not Love Island?

Not sure if it’s just me but he seems to mumble a lot. He also has a ‘heart-shaped’ mark on his… um… member. Thanks pal. He is paired with Amber, fer now.

Indiyah Pollock is 23 and hails from the capital, that’s London. Indiyah is a 23-year-old-model and waitress from the Big Smoke. She came to the island as "it is a great place to get to know someone one-on-one and build a real connection."

Here are the first batch of contestants vying for and trying to find true love on Love Island 2022 (Image credit: ITV)

Liam Llyewellyn was the second of the fellas to enter the Lockdown Lovedown Villa, at least that’s what I’m calling it. He’s 22 and a student. He probably appreciates the free holiday too. He seems alright. Liam was paired with Gemma before getting binned off for Davide, more on both of them in a moment.

Tasha Ghouri is 23 and she’s looking to turn a corner after saying: “My dating life has been a shambles. This is an opportunity for me to find 'the one', so where better to do that than under the scrutiny of the watching viewers. What could possibly go wrong?

Davide Sanclimenti is 27-years-old and originally from Rome but now lives in Manchester. He’s the show’s ‘Italian Stallion’, however so far there has been no Rocky-esque montage. So yeah he looks nice on the eye but no montage, nil points from me there.

Gemma Owen is the youngest on the show at 19-years-old, and just so happens to be the daughter of football legend, race horse lover, and helicopter video training enthusiast Michael Owen. She hasn’t been in a serious relationship for a year and a half… and she was the first trending topic of the show #Shesonly19 naturally, she has now coupled up with the Italian Stallion, Davide, who’s 8-years-older than her. Not at all concerning, eh? Age aside they both seem to be intrigued by one another, at this stage. But will it last?

Ikenna Ekwonna is 23 and he sees himself as the one to bring 'spontaneity and excitement' to the villa, he’s a pharmaceutical salesman from Nottingham. Can’t really say much more about him just yet, he’s (surprise!) handsome and he’s managed to kiss 20 girls in one night. Hands, face, space, lad.

Andrew Le Page is 27 and he’s decided this is the right time to sign up for the dating show. He’s an estate agent from Guernsey, who lives in Dubai. Apparently he had secret surgery just before going into the house and he claims he had a threesome in a nightclub., Reyt lad or very sad, your choice. Has a questionable choice in shirts and was coupled up with Tasha, see above.

Amber Beckford is 24 and a nanny from London, she doesn’t like flashy, show-offs… so naturally she’s headed to an island where that’s all they do. Amber hopes to find Mr Right, she’s been coupled up with Dami.

And finally in the initial group we have 23-year-old Luca Bish and he sells fish. No really, he’s a fishmonger. He’s looking for something serious, something reel. Likes the word ‘banter’… I don’t. He’s been paired with the Welsh paramedic Paige. I’m trying to avoid any fish-y puns, but collectively… What a catch. Ahem.

So that was this season's contestants (at least initially), but there are a few more surprises to come… more on those later (yay).

For the first time, these Love Islanders won’t get to choose who they want to couple with; it's the public who pick who goes with who. Proper tense, isn’t it?

Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore has returned to guide the islanders through the competition once again… she seems nice enough and I don’t really have an opinion on her because she just comes across as pretty inoffensive. Crack on Laura.

Laura’s husband, Iain Sterling also returns and he’s delivering the show’s voiceovers and witty-asides. He’s seemingly well regarded by the show’s fans for his ‘iconic’ voiceovers, and he seems to be enjoying it. Fair enough pal.

Love Island 2022 is changing the format, changing the villa and more. It’s not just the format that changed, as the show has moved on from the previous villa on the outskirts of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar in Mallorca to a brand new one 10 minutes away.

What is Love Island 2022 like so far?

I’d love to give you my deep insight into the show, all I know is that Caroline Flack (RIP) used to present the show and that’s the extent of my knowledge. I’ve watched the first two episodes so far and without a drink in hand and pleasant company to help me through the show I would probably have found it to be quite intolerable. However, my mum says that I shouldn’t knock something until I’ve tried. So this is me trying it… for eight weeks. The pain.

It’s the sort of influencer-baiting, pop-culture reference creating, incredibly vacuous hour of television that you can see on TV, unless you force yourself to listen to a single word that is emitted from the current Prime Minister. Both seem incredibly false and devoid of deeper meaning, and despite its saccharine-tinted, multi-coloured, idealised take on how love can be found via a series of games (read: challenges) within the confines of a rather spectacular villa in Mallorca, at least it seems to be somewhat… harmless — without getting into the whole mental health impact - and lack of ongoing counselling and support - that such shows are continually scrutinised for.

After the last few years of continual drudgery, maybe Love Island 2022 could be precisely the tonic that we need to pull us out of this malaise we’ve found ourselves in? Or not.

I could just be feeling incredibly optimistic that this assorted cast of attention-seeking, bikini-clad, Gymshark trunk wearing, twenty-somethings - barring Gemma, obviously, she’s only 19! - spawned from the hellscape of Instagram could suitably distract me from the monotony of day-to-day life. Let’s be positive though… and I’ll even try to be nice.

Maybe Love Island 2022 could be precisely the tonic that we need to pull us out of this malaise we’ve found ourselves in?

Drama will no doubt ensue by the boatload over the coming days and weeks, and two episodes in I’ve only rolled my eyes 292 times but, I’ve stuck at it. I’ve listened to their conversations, observed the unveiling of their characters, taken notes on clothes that I definitely won’t be buying (and those I will), while also gritting my teeth at the typically judgemental categorising of ‘types’ and whatnot.

So… what’s a ‘Broken Eagle’? You really don’t want to know

There have been some amusing asides, it took Bish the Fish (ok, Luke) all of a minute to ask Paige what her favourite sex-position was. Paige, like every person in the nation who collectively face-palmed at that sole-ful bit of ‘banter’ was slightly taken aback before answering, ‘Broken Eagle’ — I can see that I will be having to refer to Google quite a bit over the course of the next eight-weeks. And, no… I will not be describing it. OK, go on then. It’s when the ‘recipient’ has one leg down with the other up and half bent at the knee and the deliverer doing ‘his’ thing - so, not quite the ‘bended-knee’ many will be thinking of.

Gemma Owen had the internet aghast and up in arms when she stated that she’d not been in a serious relationship for a year and a half, which would make her around 17 at the time. People were discussing online that maybe shows like this need a minimum age-barrier of 21? One to ponder perhaps. But ultimately, she’s a grown woman who is more than capable of her making own life choices.

The first ‘ouch’ moment of note was when the solo (at the time) Davide, having been given the time to get to know all of the people in the villa - and the girls - was given the choice of which girl he’d like to couple with after 24-hours. He chose Gemma, Liam was kicked to the curb… for now and Davide and Gemma had the internet all a flutter at their age gap.

First thoughts?

My favourite bit from the show so far (yes, I have one), was when Liam asked Gemma how many pets she had at home to which she replied: “We’ve got 12 horses”

Liam replied: “At home, like home, home, where you live? 12 horses, you must have a big house… oh, actually… it’s outside you keep horses, innit?”

Oh Liam.

Here are the current couples for Love Island 2022

Amber and Dami Gemma and Davide Indiyah and Ikenna Tasha and Andrew Paige and Luca Liam - Single (soz lad, it’ll be reet)

Finally, just when things seemed to have reached a dramatic climax, it was revealed that two more female Islanders would be entering the villa. First is the 25-year-old Afia Tonkmor, a lounge host Londoner who says that her smile is her best asset. Ah bless. And we’re also introduced to Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu from Essex, who is 27. She’s seeking intelligence and a serious man to build a relationship. Fair play.

Two episodes in and the third tonight… What wonders await? More on that as it comes, so far it’s pretty painless and just what I expected. I suppose.