Love Island's next host should be a reality show fan
With Laura Whitmore stepping down from her Love Island hosting duties, we've put together a shortlist of those who could take over the role.
Despite being a fairly small role in comparison to other TV shows, the title of Love Island host is one of the hottest gigs out there, particularly after the ITV2 reality competition exploded in popularity around season 3. So, when Laura Whitmore announced yesterday that she would be leaving the Love Island villa permanently just a few weeks after it shut its doors for the 2022 season, the internet set alight.
Twitter flooded with potential replacements, well-wishers filled the comment section of Whitmore's departing Instagram post and even Sky News issued a breaking news alert – so you know it's a big deal.
Whether you were a fan of Whitmore or not, her departure leaves Love Island, arguably the biggest reality show in the UK, without a face – and as we saw in last night's House of the Dragon premiere, nothing is more important than naming a successor, especially as winter is coming. But who will be the next broadcaster to strut into the villa and sit on Love Island's equivalent of the Iron Throne?
The answer is simple: it's time to let a reality star (or a reality expert) begin their reign. As we've seen in recent years, some of the best broadcasters have moved into presenting after finding fame on unscripted shows. Just look at Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two's Rylan or This Morning's Alison Hammond and Josie Gibson, all of whom established themselves as big personalities on Big Brother and used their experiences to bring warmth, sympathy and likability as interviewers.
Likewise, presenters who've already cut their teeth on reality shows are also a safe bet, with most of them knowing the format inside and out. Whether it's AJ Odudu or Maya Jama, a number of names would be able to step into Whitmore's heels with professional ease – but what is vital to be the next Love Island host is a passionate love for the show.
With that in mind, we've collated a shortlist of TV personalities, broadcasters and presenters who would make excellent replacements. Tasked with following in Laura Whitmore and the late Caroline Flack's footsteps, we reckon any of these stars would manage to tame this mammoth of a reality competition.
There's no doubt about it – AJ Odudu would make an excellent replacement for Laura Whitmore on Love Island.
Not only would Odudu bring the bubbly presenting style we've already seen on Big Brother's Bit on the Side and Married at First Sight: Afters, she would also become the first person of colour to host the reality show and a welcome addition to the team.
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The 34-year-old is currently on a roll, having made it to the final of Strictly Come Dancing's last season and being a UK spokesperson for the Eurovision Song Contest. With both Whitmore and Flack having previously sequinned up for Strictly, perhaps Odudu can be the next to bring her smooth moves to the Love Island villa.
My personal top pick for Love Island host would be Maura Higgins – one of the best contestants in the reality show's history.
Immensely quotable, hugely likeable and always hilarious, the Irish TV personality knows exactly the right questions to be asking future islanders, and having spent 44 days on the show, she would be able to understand what the contestants are going through, how they feel and act appropriately.
Since leaving the villa, Higgins has finessed her presenting skills on This Morning, Celebrity Juice and the Irish version of Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star – so why not hand her the keys to the Love Island villa?
After taking the most recent Love Island series by storm, Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu has become a popular choice by fans for Whitmore's replacement – and after charming us with her balcony antics and love for drama, it's hard not to root for the 28-year-old icon.
With Ekin-Su fever still very much alive and the former soap actress impressing with her appearances on Loose Women and The Big Breakfast, Cülcüloğlu would be an exciting pick and, much like Maura Higgins, would harness her villa experience to become an empathetic yet animated host – especially if Davide Sanclimenti were to also make an appearance.
However, it's possible that this opportunity has come a bit too soon for Cülcüloglu. While she has a few Turkish soap roles under her belt, giving her this highly-scrutinised role would be a big risk by ITV2 and although she could bring new life to the show, it's possible she may crash and burn without enough presenting practice.
Perhaps it's time for Love Island winner Amber Gill to front the show – especially since she's been on the Twitter battlefront delivering her opinions on the latest season.
While it's been three years since Gill made her reality debut on Love Island, she's stayed in the public eye, having appeared on This Morning, Loose Women, Lorraine, Celebrity MasterMind, Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins and presenting ITV2's The Full Treatment.
Gill would bring an understated approach to Love Island but maybe that's what the reality show needs to balance out the louder personalities of its contestants.
If ITV2 were to mix things up with a man, the obvious choice would be 2017 winner Kem Cetinay, who has kept one finger in the reality show's pie thanks to his hosting role on the Love Island podcast.
The 26-year-old took part in Love Island just as the competition began to take off and with presenting roles on Good Morning Britain, You Vs Chris & Kem, This Morning and The Full Treatment on his CV, perhaps the TV personality can bring a bit of bromance back to the show – especially if Chris Hughes were to stop by the villa.
We can't forget about Iain Stirling, who has been the voice of Love Island since the show's very first season in 2015. The Scottish comedian is an obvious choice to replace Whitmore, with fans loving his tongue-in-cheek commentary and his instantly recognisable accent.
While the stand-up comedian previously told RadioTimes.com that he wouldn't want to appear on screen and that he's "happy being in the darkness and the ether", fans would undoubtedly love to see the face behind the iconic battlecry that is: "Toniiiiight on Love Island..."
A name being thrown around a lot today is Maya Jama – the TV and radio presenter whose career has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.
From Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer to Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star, the 28-year-old has proven she has the presenting skills to keep Love Island afloat. However, with so many other options on the table, and the opportunity to catapult a greener name to fame, perhaps ITV2 should go with someone else – especially since Jama seems to be constantly on TV anyway.
Love Island returns for a winter season later this year. You can catch up on the previous seasons on ITV Hub and BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free Britbox trial here. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.
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