The first two weeks of Love Island are always a bit wobbly, as people find their feet, allegiances are formed and hair extensions degrade as a result of the increasingly depraved challenges. ITV know this, and as such, for 2021, have thrown everything – including a public vote, three dumpings and two new arrivals – at Week Three, in order to really get things going.
As a result, dynamics have shifted majorly: Lucinda has gone from coming last in a public vote to being one of the most entertaining Islanders; Hugo is now out of friendship couple-dom; and it has been revealed that Liam sings when he’s in bed with women. Just last week, it was unimaginable that we would reach any of these places. Here’s a breakdown of how it happened, and of wheremst the Power now lies.
Lucinda / Image courtesy of ITV
From being immediately cornered by Brad and his desire for the two of them to do the big shop together for the duration of their marriage (which he was planning the moment they set foot back on British soil), to stepping into her true destiny as the villa’s most valuable power player, Little Miss Lucinda has had quite a week.
After her obligatory one day of wearing a grief hoodie following Brad’s departure (which, iconically, she did absolutely nothing to stand in the way of), Lucinda bravely pulled on some bodycon and continued to rattle men in the way that only a woman who looks like an exceedingly sexy tube of lipgloss can. In doing so, she inadvertently left in her wake some small time, end-of-the-night showings of machismo from one resident of the villa (see: the end of this list), but this is of little concern to Lucinda, a Businesswoman of the highest order, who quite clearly is here for her 1.2 million on IG, and her 1.2 million on IG only, thank you very much.
I think she’s been able to convert her inter-villa popularity into popularity with the public, too. While she and Brad were a poor match, left to her own devices she makes for incredibly funny TV (already, she has given us the catchphrase “DÖ YEAAAW FANCEEEY MAAAAAI?” and a lament for the ages: “We were literally having Special K with raspberries on it, though, and now he's gone”), and along with Kaz she’s also the most stylish of the group, which – if the great Molly-Mae taught us anything at all – is an important thing to showcase during one’s time in the villa.*
Islanders are like flowers, in that they are very beautiful, but they need the right conditions if they are to reach their full potential. Now that Lucinda has relieved herself of a doting but ultimately undramatic man, and been set free to wreak the sort of havoc you necessarily cause when you have the face of a Fiorucci cherub, she is coming into bloom. A possible all time great.
*For those who are interested in the current Instagram innings: at the time of writing, of the contestants still in the villa, Lucinda currently has the second most followers – 292,000 – after Liberty, this season’s Princess Diana, who already has a whopping 341,000. Kaz comes in third with 263,000.
IMPRESSIONS OF LUCINDA
Liam / Image courtesy of ITV
I will never tire of hearing Liam go “RRAEAEAALLLAAAAY???” like a pisstaking Big Cousin, and I hope he does it every episode for the rest of the show, and every day on Instagram Live after that.
KAZ’S OUTFITS AND MATCHING EYESHADOW
Aaron and Kaz / Screenshot via ITV Hub
I know I’ve already mentioned Kaz’s style once, but I had to properly give some time over to talk about her mastery of jewel tones, which, famously, she actually invented three weeks ago, upon her arrival in the Love Island vila.
If the show just consisted of Kaz walking around wearing block-coloured form-fitting two pieces feat. co-ordinating eye makeup, I would be even more inclined to tune in, and as such I am on my knees begging that the producers send her in a hunky and self-possessed man, for the love of all that is good and just in this world.
Faye / Image courtesy of ITV
Explicitly stating that she rates herself as better looking than other women in the villa, burping openly on camera, pretending not to care about anything, negging a very hot man who by all accounts appears to be besotted by her, inventing a game where the single rule seems simply to be “eggs”, crying more than the affected Islander when someone is dumped.
Who else is doing it like this year’s main character Faye, now in a fully-fledged couple, and cemented as the people’s champ?
Between Lucinda announcing “I’m basic!!!!!!!!”, Toby’s realisation that the public is decidedly not head over heels for his Inbetweeners snogging with Chloe and Brad’s reason for choosing to leave the show being that he wanted to give Lucinda what he euphemistically termed as “opportunities”, week three was the one in which Love Island gained sentience.
In past seasons, ITV have chosen not to show many references to the real world (other than fire pit chats about “whether it’ll work on the outside”), the public (other than the now-banned Twitter challenges) or the post-show social media careers that many contestants go on to have. But by season seven, even the most hardened defender of the show would have to admit that the jig is sort of up, and that it would be patronising both for the Islanders and the audience for Love Island to pretend that post-show opportunities aren’t important to the contestants. As such, we’ve entered a phase I am terming Love Island 2.0: a new self-awareness that we as viewers are actually privy to, as a result of the show’s own cultural position.
More so than ever, this week Love Island has mined drama from explicitly stated concerns about the public, and from possible “ulterior” motives. After Brad’s admission, Lucinda was briefly accused by Faye of “going on the show for the wrong reasons” (yet another euphemism that actually translates as “going on the show to get a Boohoo deal”), and it’s startling how doing Love Island as a business move is still coloured by the contestants, and to a degree by the show itself, as something immoral, rather than something most Islanders legitimately do.
The fact the show is now getting more involved in that conversation than it ever has (even Toby’s discomfort with the public’s apparent dislike of his couple surely had everything to do with a concern that he would be out of the villa before the end of the show, and therefore without as big a following as he might otherwise have gained) is symbolic of the fact that Love Island is so monolithic that self-awareness is no longer a choice: it is a necessity, if it wants to keep viewers interested.
Liberty and Jake / Image courtesy of ITV
At this point they’re the only possible winners, but is anyone else still just extremely not sure about this one? To me, these two have the vibe of your sweetest friend introducing you to her new boyfriend, only for him to spend the entire brunch talking about Forex trading and their sex life. I think, unfortunately, if Liberty pied Jake at the Casa Amor stage, she would probably be the only Islander ever actively celebrated for doing so.
Just! Something! A bit! Off!
Screenshot via ITV Hub
Unfortunately, if you go on Love Island with the intention of “not being mugged off”, you are appearing on the wrong show, and should have applied for Tipping Point instead (and even then it’s not 100 percent guaranteed that you won’t come away embarrassed, as those penny slots can be very unpredictable).
As such, it was not a great first couple of days for new Islander Danny, between having to apologise for using racist language on Instagram from inside the villa, and freaking everyone out – including and especially the viewers – by quietly seething like a particularly sinister Bond villain about things like “respect” and Aaron’s continued chatting-up of Lucinda.
Genuine, sizzling rage is not something you tend to see very much on Love Island (the women shouting at the men doesn’t count, because crucially: it is funny) so when it appears, it is very jarring, like a poo in a swimming pool. I come to this show for crude, Carry On-level humour and occasional rows wherein women with acrylic nails do a lot of pointing. It is of the utmost importance, then, that anything which disturbs this delicate energy simply is not allowed to fly.
THE FOOD CHALLENGE
Sorry / Screenshot via ITV Hub
There is a special place in hell for whoever thought this up and insists on exposing us to it year on year.