After the enormous success of the fourth series of Love Island (the finale was the most watched programme on a non-terrestrial channel since the 2012 Olympics), it’s little wonder that the show was instantly renewed for a fifth series.
Come June this year, another cohort of beautiful people will head for the sunny climes of Spain looking for love (or, at the very least, a teeth-whitening endorsement) as they spend the summer sticking it on one another and getting mugged off in the hope of winning the £50,000 cash prize.
But who will be making their move to Majorca in the hope of coupling up with The One? Here’s everything we know so far.
Love Island: the usual suspects
Love Island 2018 cast (ITV Pictures)
Love Island’s winning formula seems to be derived from the stellar work of the casting team who endeavour to find a varied mix of individuals who strike the balance of being compatible with one another while also making great television.
Several of those who take part in the programme are hand-picked by producers, but others are selected after completing a rigorous application process, which includes sending over a video of yourself alongside a series of filter-free selfies.
Love Island series four runner-up Laura Anderson said she emphasised what made her so unique in order to bag herself a place in the villa.
“I just used my best assets, I had to really think, like, who am I, what makes me different, because I knew they must want individuals,” she said told RadioTimes.com. “My job I guess was interesting, also that I’m Scottish but lived in Dubai. So I just used that in my video initially.”
As an islander who was never scouted for the show, Laura added she felt that producers may now struggle to find such distinct characters who are genuinely looking for romance as Love Island grows in popularity – but that it’s not always a bad thing to consider those hoping to launch a media career.
“It’s such a huge show providing such opportunities afterwards but they’ve done well so far scouting, I think. Some more than others, haha jokes,” she said.
“I actually learned it’s not necessarily a bad thing to say you have ulterior motives going on the show. A lot of the contestants admitted that in the villa.
“But the crux of the show is about finding love, and let’s be honest, everyone wants to fall in love.
“In there you really can’t help it. It’s so romantic and everyone is dead sexy.”
The last two series, which have seen the show become more and more popular, seem to have nailed the balance between finding fame-seekers and genuine hopeless romantics – despite garnering some criticism for not featuring a diverse enough cast.
Alongside the usual inclusion of models, personal trainers and Insta-influencers that have become Love Island staples, the more recent editions have also included a “semi-famous” islander to pique interest, with Dani Dyer and Marcel ‘Did you know I was in Blazin’ Squad?’ Somerville cornerstones of the villa in their respective series.
And as well as including a few slightly older contestants who bring a more nuanced and mature perspective on romance other than ‘did you stick it on her’ (e.g. Laura and Paul from series four), the show has started to champion ‘underdog’ islanders who stand apart from the rest of the villa’s perma-tanned cohort – see series three runner-up Camilla Thurlow and series four’s perpetually sunburnt Doctor Alex George.
Camilla, a 29-year-old bomb disposal expert, was not Love Island’s usual type on paper. With her shy and quiet demeanour and impassioned views on equality, she stood out from her fellow series three contestants, and her partnership with Johnny briefly disintegrated after a row about feminism.
But in spite of how different she was, Camilla quickly became a firm favourite amongst viewers and other islanders alike, placing second alongside Calvin Klein model Jamie Jewitt.
Jamie and Camilla, Love Island (Getty)
“I felt as if I needed to be myself,” she told RadioTimes.com “It was really to do with breaking down social barriers I’d put up. I knew it was so far out of my comfort zone, but in my experience I knew that’s how I’d progress.
“I was scouted for the show. The casting team were like a family to us in a way, they really looked after us.”
However, Camilla added that it was important for Love Island producers to cast their nets wide when it came to finding suitable islanders.
“It’s nice seeing how a variety of different characters react when placed in different situations,” she said.
“The casting team are so amazing at casting that show, I think we’re going to have a brilliant range of people this year, I’m really looking forward to it.”
So who can we expect to see in the villa?
Love Island 2019 line-up rumours
Megan Barton Hanson…again
Whether you loved her or loathed her, Megan Barton Hanson made Love Island unmissable viewing last year.
The bodacious blonde was quite the bombshell when she strutted in on day eight, instantly turning heads in the villa, with even those in the most comfortable couplings tempted to stray.
While Doctor Alex initially tried (and ultimately failed) to stick it on her, Megan chose to couple up with hashtag deep Eyal Booker, with the pair going all the way in the Hideaway – before she pied him off with the immortal line, “You’re not exactly Jim Carrey.”
Instead, “Muggy” Meg broke up what seemed to be the villa’s most unshakeable couple, with Wes Nelson ditching Laura for Meg almost immediately after he heard she was interested in him.
The millionaire has admitted she finds it “difficult” to meet men due to her hefty lottery win.
Speaking to Sunday People last year, she explained, “I’ve had s*** relationships and it’s left me with a massive guard up. With the last one, I showered him with gifts. I thought it would make him happy.
“I bought him a Rolex, a car, clothes every week. I regret it all.”
Love Island is Jane’s latest bid to try and find romance, having previously offered men a £60,000 allowance to wine and dine her.
“Nobody really caught her eye,” the source continued. “Jane knows Love Island contestants are vetted and thinks she’ll get a better quality of man there.”
The older sister of Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Sairah was hotly-tipped by the tabloids to enter Love Island last year.
Amelia Goodman comes from a family of reality TV stars, with her sister Chloe Goodman appearing on Ex on the Beach and Celebrity Big Brother. Her other sister Lauryn is also no stranger to the fame game, with 56,000 Instagram followers.
Amelia isn’t far behind with 23k followers on Instagram, describing herself as a social media influencer from Brighton. She was rumoured for Love Island 2018, with Mail Online claiming that she has already met with producers and casting bosses.
The Only Way is Marbs star was reportedly approached early in January after his strong social media presence and connections to other Love Island stars caught the eye of producers.
“Love Island casting agents are approaching people with low-level fame to take part in this year’s show, they told Ercan he’d be a perfect fit for the show and that they really wanted him on board,” a source told The Sun.
“This year they know exactly who they want on the show, everyone on Love Island must have a strong influence on social media – it’s key to the success of the show.”
However, they may be a little too late in signing the star, with Ercan now dating former Geordie Shore favourite Vicky Pattison.
A show insider has since denied that Ercan was approached, telling MailOnline, “No it’s not true, we haven’t auditioned these names.”
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