The First 'Love Island' 2021 Power Ranking

'Toes,' I'm so sorry.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
The First 'Love Island' 2021 Power Ranking
Screenshot via ITV Hub

We are at the foot of a mountain. The road here has been long, treacherous, bleak. Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I thought we would never arrive; that we would never see this great peak – this glimmering pinnacle – ever again.

I was, of course, wrong to doubt. We are here again, my friends. Bask in it: the light bestowed on you by proximity to conventional attractiveness, the floral aroma of five different scented fake tans mingling in the air, the sound of the phrase “my type on paper” ringing out once more, triumphant and symphonic.


We have eight weeks to climb to the top, and I believe we can do it together. It is my job to humbly offer you now what I can: an attempt to parse what we have seen so far. I am dusting off the old tomes, re-inking my pen and setting my brain to “smooth”. I am opening my book onto a new leaf, full of trepidation, disbelief, joy, as I write—

This is the very first Love Island 2021 Power Ranking. Let’s have a bloody laugh, shall we?


Kaz Liberty Love Island

Kaz and Liberty / Screenshot via ITV Hub

What you need to know about me is that, before all else, I am a girls’ girl, so of course I thought the standout “couple” from last night’s Love Island premiere was the very sweet friendship already forged between Kaz and Liberty.

More than the iconic narration, more than re-couplings – maybe even more than muscly boys sitting at tables covered in rose petals, with tears in their eyes, saying to tiny brunette trainee accountants, “I just really like you, yeah” – girls like Kaz and Liberty *are* Love Island. They entered the villa, they squealed unintelligibly about not being able to pop a bottle cork, and then squealed some more about the fact they went to the same uni. Isn’t that what it’s all about, when all is said and done?

Very often, the friendships on Love Island are the actual emotional core of the show, because they tend to be a lot more real than the romantic relationships, and viewers end up caring more about them (see: Chris and Kem; Anna and Amber). In establishing a seemingly very cute and natural friendship early on, Kaz and Liberty gain power both within the villa – they each now have an ally – and outside of it, because the viewers, put simply, love the girlies. 


Something I observed over the course of l*ckdown was the prevalence of people talking online about how much they missed the mythical figure of “the drunk girl in the club toilet telling you that you look beautiful” (largely, it was people who probably went out about twice a year pre-pandemic who wouldn’t stop going on about this, but that’s something to explore another day x). To me, Kaz and Liberty are this girl, if she was two girls on Love Island. Powerful indeed.


Phone Love Island

Screenshot via ITV Hub

Just when you thought there couldn’t be a more perfect inter-show communication method than “I’VE GOT A TEEE-EEEEEXT”, Love Island embraces the voice note – because surely we know by now that a show which, at some point soon, will probably force its contestants to pass meatballs from mouth to mouth is hardly going to turn down the opportunity to be even more literal. 

As a result of this new Island technology, we got the first bombshell contestant of the season, Chloe, announcing her arrival by drawling “heeeey boooooys” into a phone, hitting the centre of the Venn diagram where one side is labelled “Kent’s second-most beloved Marilyn Monroe impersonator” and the other reads “AI-generated soft porn pop-up that starts playing on your computer every time you try to illegally stream Real Housewives”. A strong start for voice notes! 


Brad Love Island

Brad / Image via ITV

As both hearts and underwear across the country melted the second Brad revealed, with genuine tenderness, that he “looks after his nan” and lives with her together with their “little dog”, you had to marvel at the sheer psychic power of a good nan. No other family member mention would have provoked quite as many girls to kick their boyfriends (AirPods in, watching the Euros on a laptop on the other end of the sofa), asking, “Why can’t you just be like that?” 


I sort of hope this factoid is this summer’s “I was in Blazin’ Squad,” and once he is inevitably pied by Faye, Brad just starts telling every girl he’s interested in how much he enjoys having a cuppa and watching the soaps with his nan (“I actually pure buzz off Eastenders.”) Also, if quarantine rules allow for the customary family visits at the end – and I think this guy is gonna be there until the end, right? – the fact is that the nan, plus Brad’s emotional reunion with her, is probably going to swoop in and win it for him. 


Shannon Love Island

Shannon / Image via ITV

Shannon is a Twitch streamer with a dry sense of humour, who also happens to be a model with the best hair in the villa, and the skin and subtle makeup of a Glossier Instagram grid post. As such, I imagine that she is one of those impossibly constitutionally blessed people who can drink about five pints without any physical discomfort or significant loss of motor skills. I do wonder whether she might be a bit “I’m not like other girls x”, but it’s too early to call on last night’s episode alone, during which I think she came off as probably the coolest of the bunch.


Wedges Love Island

Wedges! / Screenshot via ITV Hub

Did anyone else notice that there were a lot of wedges being worn on the show? Are wedges – otherwise known as my Grown Up Shoe of choice aged 11, which I would stunningly pair with my New Look 915 boot cut jeans – having another moment in the sun? Did they actually never leave? Had I simply blocked out the concept of an espadrille-style heel as a subconscious self-preservation strategy until last night?


In one sense, I do understand the girls’ decision to wear wedges, because let’s face it, they are pretty much the only properly comfortable heeled shoe, it was the first day of filming, and these ladies were going to be on their feet the entire time, what with Love Island’s whole “lining up in the normal outfit of a bikini and big shoes, for the sole purpose of being physically assessed by men who, best case scenario, will point at you and say ‘that one’ as a way of expressing their interest” requirement. But in another very real sense, I can’t say I condone it.

Ultimately, wedges hit mid-list, because while they are apparently “back”, this does not make them “good”.


Jake Love Island

Screenshot via ITV Hub

In his first hour-and-a-half on Love Island, Jake:

– did the worm in his pre-show VT;
– expressed his sexual preference for “little white toes”, twice;
– asked Liberty, the girl he’s coupled up with, if her mum is fit;
– confided in the Beach Hut that he’s actually not that into Liberty;
– performed an aggressively crotchal lap dance towards Liberty, despite the above;
– fell over;
– filmed, on his ITV-provided phone, a toe-sucking dare, whipping the handset out with a degree of speed that suggests to me this is something he does at least semi-regularly. 

Whether you condone any or all of this or not, you do sort of have to hand it to this man for making an initial impact unlike anything I’ve ever seen in all my days doing this Power Ranking. If Love Island was the guy from Alien, Jake in last night’s episode would be the creature who bursts out of its chest.


If it weren’t for the fact that he will probably soon make Liberty cry, gifting her the Dani Dyer-style People’s Princess status she’s already primed for – and, I’d wager, making himself quite unpopular in the process – I’d have placed him higher purely due to sheer force of will. Goodness me.


Faye Love Island

Faye / Image via ITV

I do think that any woman who ended up getting picked from the line-up by three different guys would have a difficult time with first impressions, purely because, as viewers, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the other girls left in her wake (plus, what is the British public if not both fascinated by and deeply resentful of women who like to show a bit of underboob, and what are reality shows if not a reflection of what that public want to see?), so in a lot of ways, this low ranking has been thrust upon Faye rather than brought on through any fault of her own.

While I can’t imagine she did herself any favours with her slightly dismissive Beach Hut comments about Brad (he of Having A Nan), it’s clear from her VT that Faye is very funny, which is one of the best things you can be on Love Island – so I have a suspicion that, given a few days to warm up, she could end up being a favourite.


Hugo and Sharon Love Island

Sharon and Hugo / Image via ITV

Big “university Christian Union couple” vibes so far, and by that I mean they are both posh and I don’t think she likes him very much. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that Hugo knows how to play around five hymns on the acoustic guitar.  


Toes Toby Love Island

Toby ft. Kaz's toes / Screenshot via ITV Hub

Gonna be a rough summer for you girls.