We're on the home stretch. One week of Love Island 2019 remains, and I would say that it's all to play for – but, to be honest, it's absolutely not. Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hague have this one absolutely in the bag – but the winners (whose identities usually become apparent within about the first three weeks) have never really been what Love Island is about.
Love Island is about drama, and it is about crying your fake eyelashes off, and it is about being told by the producers to leave a full 30 seconds between saying, "The boy I would like to couple up with is" and the boy's actual name, so as to give the editors enough to play with. It's genuine human emotion manipulated into an extremely loose reality TV format that keeps changing (seemingly due to the fact that Caroline Flack can't be arsed to keep going to Mallorca and back???).
We've rarely seen this better represented than during Week 7, in which brave warrior Amber finally conquered the traitor Michael. Like Joan of Arc or Boudicca, she sent him to face the worst punishment of all: going on Aftersun and having to mumble things about there being two sides to every story at Joanna.
But now that one of Love Island 2019's biggest storylines is over and the final is days away, where does the power truly lie?
LITERAL MASS HYSTERIA
Trapping people in a house with all their means of contacting the outside world taken away for eight weeks sounds like the sort of thing that would feature on the news as, you know, a crime – but Love Island contestants enter into this contract willingly.
Regardless of their co-operation, however, it stands to reason that the Love Island villa would make you start behaving in ways that you would normally find quite weird. Case in point: violently cannonballing into a swimming pool because your mates who were sort of seeing each other are now official. Other case in point: screaming your head off like 90s Drew Barrymore because two people you’ve known for about a week kissed. Looking forward to later this week, when Curtis doing some sort of hip movement will cause all the girls to speak in tongues for an entire episode.
AMBER, SEE ALSO: 'VINDICATION FOR WOMEN EVERYWHERE'
"Greg." Say it with me: "G-r-e-g" – your tongue lapping at the roof of your mouth as though you're savouring the remnants of a delicious drink. With that one syllable, the dynamic of the villa changed forever (by which I mean a week, which is all they have left in there). With that one syllable, the nation erupted in mass hysteria on a level not seen since the English lost their fucking heads during the World Cup quarter-final last year and threw approximately 700 litres of lager into the sky.
In what will be known as the most victorious recoupling of all time, Amber finally clipped Michael from her life like a rotten nail and chose Greg. In doing so, she almost instantly banished any remnants of torment from the villa, like some glorious self-respecting wizard, deploying sage phrases such as: "I went with the guy who makes me happy," and, "On the outside I wouldn't accept it. Why would I accept it in here?" And, as Michael responded with that glassy thousand-yard-stare he does instead of emoting, manipulated women of the UK rejoiced, for lo, the "CHALDISH" beast was slain. The Devil Wears Pedal Pushers.
The decision ultimately led to Michael's elimination, and with the third horseman of the shaggers apocalypse banished (Arabella and Danny being the first two, Curtis being the final), the clouds have parted. FUN has re-entered the villa for the first time since June. Chris and Harley snogged to much applause! Amber and Greg snogged very respectfully, in private!! Maura and Curtis I would rather not speak of!!! Nevertheless: Horny Island is back, baby.
So thank you, Amber, for this moment of retribution. This objectively correct decision, which offered vicarious relief for anyone who has ever been fucked around by a demon with a nose ring and too-small jeans, as well as making my Hot People Programme marginally watchable again.
I have a growing suspicion that Greg may have been that lad at your uni who spent three years smashing up the rugby team changing rooms after the yearly Uni vs Met match, and may have been "aware of" but not "an admin on" a very questionable Facebook group that produced well-researched rankings of women in your halls. This, unfortunately, is the standard origin story of most men who happen to be multi-hyphenate sports player-lawyers, with penchants for bucket hats, tiny glasses and shorts ("Parklife 2016", if you will).
While fundamentally I know this Potentially Problematic Lad could go on to represent a medium-to-large corporation against their workers unionising or something, Greg has still managed to be really charming and likeable in the context of the villa. While, in real life, this is the bare minimum for most men, in villa terms this makes him the equivalent of a hot Gandhi. He’s been consistently considerate to Amber, kissing her under the covers rather than having their snog turn into a spectator sport, and doesn’t seem like the kind of lad to fuck her over because a tweet took aim at his ego. A low bar, but a crossed bar nonetheless.
You want to hate The Salmon because it appears to have been popularised by Chris, whose sense of humour can quite easily be boiled down to "comments 'shmexi' on girls' Instagrams" (although I will begrudgingly admit that his quantity surveyor bit was good), but unfortunately it is impossible to hate The Salmon because: it is just funny innit *bangs gavel*.
Your most radge mate – the person who was once thrown out of a club for arguing with a man because she told him his shoes were shit; the person who once physically shook you because you fancied a guy with a man bun – is dating someone new, and something weird is happening. She used to look at all men with the sort of contempt most people save for food in their fridge that has grown mould; she used to speak to them in a tone of voice that could only be described as "a bark".
But this guy has done something weird to your mate, your lovely mate for whom "throwing drinks" is a fun type of sport. She’s started speaking in a voice that makes her sound like she's on Toddlers and Tiaras. She’s fucking giggling. You’re considering phoning the police.
That's what's happened here with Maura and ol' Wormhips. It’s good that she’s happy, of course, but equally I am lighting candles to the god of savagery and praying she bins Curtis within a week of coming out and is given her own show where she just tells different dudes what is wrong with them, and hopefully also frequently reads text messages aloud.
ANNA AND JORDAN
On paper, Anna and Jordan have what it takes to be winners. They’ve had their "ups and downs", which has "only made them stronger", and they’ve obviously got a "genuine connection". I actually smiled when Jordan brought out the feather duster in the hideaway, and the soft look Anna gives Jordan sometimes makes me briefly remember love.
Why, then, do they keep coming out bottom in the public vote? I genuinely think it’s because nobody can be arsed. People vote for Ovie and Maura because they're legends, and I would vote for Belle purely because of that one time she said "I'm a respectable woman" in a thick east London accent. But this lot? I don’t know. Can’t be arsed. Nice and everything, but can’t be arsed.
For a short glimmer of time, there was hope. There was the feeling that perhaps we could really make something of this; that we could celebrate the relationships that really make this show so special and watchable: the friendships. For a short time, we believed that Amber and Ovie would be our glorious winners; that we could overthrow the hetero-patriarchy that hinders Love Island so badly, by crowning our Friend Island champions.
But then they airdropped in a sexy Irishman and a sexy vegan chef (who knew?) and everyone started snogging – and who among us can blame them? Farewell, Friend Island. You could never blossom on such horny ground.
THESE FUCKING BOYFRIEND PROPOSALS
Please do not subject us to any more "romantic tours" of a house you haven’t been able to leave for a month, poems scrawled in eyeliner or proposals asking a girl to be your "chick" written in the blood of your fellow contestants. Boring!!!!!!
Some things are really satisfying. Those slime videos, for instance. Or your first shower after a five-day festival. But nothing has been more satisfying than watching Michael’s face – a haunted green from the night vision camera – watch as Amber tongues with Gregg in the dark.
I have spent some time sitting here trying to remember one nice thing Michael ever said about Amber, who he professed to have feelings for, and it was: "I do like Amber." But none of that matters now anyway, because he’s finally left the villa, leaving Amber free to pash on with a guy whose hotness lands somewhere between Irish boyband and serial killer. Goodbye, Michael… *raises glass* "CHAAAALDISH."