With the Love Island final just around the corner, we don't have long to wait until the 2022 champions are revealed in an episode that marks the end of this wildly entertaining journey.

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While we're used to tuning in at 9pm every night for Iain Stirling's round-up of a day in the villa, those who've watched Love Island since the beginning will know that the Love Island final is a completely different beast.

From seeing more of Laura Whitmore to the show being filmed in front of a live audience, the upcoming episode can feel like a separate show – especially for those actually starring in it.

Ahead of the 2022 final, RadioTimes.com spoke to former finalists Amber Gill (season 5 winner) and Faye Winter (who came in third place on season 7) about their experiences of that big day, with the reality alumni spilling all the Majorcan tea on the filming of the last episode.

The islanders are taken out of the villa on the day of the final

With the villa being transformed ahead of the live final, Faye – who came in third place on season 7 with her boyfriend Teddy Soares – reveals that in her year, the islanders were moved out of the way on the big day itself.

"They won't actually be in the villa on the day of the final," she tells RadioTimes.com. "You get taken out of the villa in the morning and you sit and you obviously have hair and make-up done and stuff. There'll be preparing the garden for the final."

However, in Amber Gill's year, the finalists were given a day out prior to the final.

"You get a day off towards the final so that they can build the villa and stuff and I just thought that was wild because you don't see any of that when you're watching it," she tells us.

"We left and then came back when it was ready. We weren't allowed to do anything, I think because the season was so big, we weren't allowed to step foot outside of anywhere.

"We were just chilling, which was kind of nice because a lot of us had been in there from really early days, so it was nice to sit in a hotel room and not do anything."

As for the day of the final, the contestants were kept indoors and prepared for the live show. "The whole outdoor set-up is being built and so you don't really go outside. You don't do chats. You don't do anything.

"You're literally just getting prepared for the final, picking the outfits you want to wear for the final."

The finalists get a lie-in ahead of the live show

Gemma and Luca head on their final date.
Gemma and Luca on their final Love Island date ITV

After eight weeks filming every single day, you'd think the islanders would be entitled to a little bit of rest – and thankfully, it sounds as though they do eventually get it, according to Faye.

"I think we had a lie-in actually," she says about the morning of the final.

"I think they actually gave us a really long lie-in. [We then] woke up, packed out bags – we all packed our stuff up, packed our suitcases – and then left the villa and got ready."

It's a bit of a shock seeing an audience in the villa

One of the big additions to Love Island for the final is the introduction of a live audience, all of whom are ready to watch one couple win £50,000 – although, for the islanders, it takes a bit of getting used to.

"Because you feel at home in the villa, it's kind of like friends and family coming over to your place," Faye says.

Amber adds that the experience is "really strange" when you've been interacting with the same limited pool of people for two months.

"You've been in the villa with all these people and you sort of forget that however many people are watching you and know you. And then when you step outside into the garden like you have done for the past two months and there's people there, and they're all like, 'Oh my god!', it's so strange."

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She continues: "I remember looking at everyone and being like, 'What the hell? Why are there people in our garden, first and foremost? And like, what is going on?' That's when you really realise what you were on."

The couples watch their highlight reels for the first time during the live final

Davide and baby Irenè on Love Island 2022
Davide and baby Irenè on this year's Love Island ITV

While throughout the season, contestants usually get a glimpse of what viewers have seen at home with the Casa Amor postcard, Movie Night and the tweet challenge, the remaining islanders only properly watch how they've been portrayed for the first time during the final, when their highlight reel is played back.

"It's so weird watching yourself back, it's just strange to see yourself back on camera," Amber says. "And I think watching people's reaction as well, because obviously the crowd were reacting to different things, and hearing who they're not really fond of and who they don't like was just very surreal. Very mad."

For Faye, the experience wasn't so positive, considering that some of her biggest moments on the show were often fights between her and Teddy.

"Obviously, it was upsetting because our conversation when we were announced [as third place] was a lot surrounding the backlash that I got at Movie Night, so it felt like the show was also trying to hone in on that," she says. "I understand why they needed to do that because they wanted me to explain myself so that I didn't come back out to such backlash.

"We've been announced as third and then it was like, 'Oh wow, that's the bit that's being shown,' and I didn't know how they'd shown it as well so I didn't know how it had been aired. There were parts of that night that weren't aired. But I couldn't turn around in that moment and be like, 'Hang on, I was actually crying, I was upset,' because it wouldn't have made sense to anyone because they hadn't seen it."

For the Love Island contestants, the final is their first taste of fame

With the final being filmed live on ITV2 and most of the islanders having no interview experience, the interviews during the last episode can be stressful, as Amber recalls.

"It's like you're on a morning TV show. And obviously, none of us, well I don't think any of us, had done anything like that before. So it's like, 'What am I doing right now?'

"I remember being asked different questions and I was like, 'I have no idea what to say. Am I going to swear?' Because I'm the worst. So I was panicking, like very, very nervous, because you've just never done anything like that."

She continues: "It's like you're on holiday for however long and then it just hits you that actually loads of people were watching it. Like, what do people think of us? It's so weird when you realise you've got no concept of anything."

Contestants write their own prom speeches – but they get more time than is shown

Love Island's prom night challenge

One of the key moments of the Love Island final is the pre-recorded prom night challenge, which sees the remaining islanders dress up and read heart-felt speeches to their partners.

While viewers get to see the contestants try to pen their messages over the course of what seems like an hour, Faye reveals that they were actually given more time off-screen.

"You fully write your speeches yourself so I wrote my poem myself. It was when we got taken out of the villa, when the girls went to the spa, then on camera, you kind of think about it but then you have, like, an hour, an hour and a half to write the speech.

"You go through it with producers, and then they type it up for you. Anything you write down, they then type it for you and then they give you as a printout on the night."

Meanwhile, Amber says that it takes a "full day" to film prom night, adding: "Obviously you go to try on your little outfits and you're writing the speeches, but the girls normally help with the speeches.

"I'm sure we were giving each other a hand. It took me, like, 45 years because I don't express an emotion. So it took me a little bit longer than everyone else."

Last year, islanders could only request music to hear ahead of the last Aftersun show

As regular Love Island viewers know, the ITV2 contestants are thrown a lot of parties over the course of the season. In fact, it feels as though 50 per cent of the show is just slow motion dancing shots.

However, Faye lets slip that during her year, the islanders were actually dancing to the same, lyric-less dance track for those scenes.

"There is [music playing] but it's not really a song," she says when asked whether music is played during those moments. "Because they don't want you to sing because your mouth won't be moving with the same song that they put over the show, so I guess it's a bit like house music."

She adds: "And then it's the same song repeated three times. It's not really a party."

Faye goes on to say that they were able to request music for the very first time whilst waiting to go on the last Aftersun show.

"We got kept in the bedroom with producers and we all got to choose music for the first time ever. Producers had the phone and we were able to put on any music we wanted because obviously, we haven't listened to music all summer.

"So we all got to pick a song and we were all jumping around and singing and having a bit of a karaoke night. It was really fun. And obviously they didn't want us to hear what was being said on Aftersun."

Love Island airs at 9pm nightly on ITV2 and ITV Hub, with the final on Monday 1st August. Episodes are available the following morning on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial.

Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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