While most reality dating shows rely solely on the contestants’ relationships to determine who is sent home, Love Island has an added twist. In both the U.K. and the upcoming U.S. version of Love Island, viewers have a say in what happens. Knowing how to vote on Love Island lets you weigh in on who should stay and who should go in real time, a level of power TV viewers in the U.S. have not yet experienced — and one they’re sure to enjoy.
In the U.S., Love Island viewers will be able to vote via the Love Island app, which is available on the App Store (and also in the Instagram bio of every contestant). According to the app description, it offers "exclusive previews, videos and gossip," as well as "Love Island IQ quizzes" and camera filters for "Island selfies." Of course, the app also has the voting function: "turn up the heat for our Islanders and really stir things up," the app description suggests, "by deciding who stays and who deserves to be dumped from the show for good."
Any U.S. resident who watches Love Island and has downloaded the app will be able to vote as the drama unfolds. (The app description specifies that voters should be over the age of 18 or have parental consent.) And given that the show airs five times per week, viewers will have plenty of opportunities to use their voting power — with increasingly high stakes as weeks go on.
Another unpredictable aspect of Love Island is that contestants and viewers alike don’t know when the next reckoning is coming. All it takes is a text announcement of an upcoming elimination (or "dumping") — and suddenly, everyone’s at risk. Unlike Bachelor rose ceremonies, which happen after a clear set of events, Love Island eliminations pop up seemingly at random, and only the host knows when to expect the next one.
At any given point, an "uncoupled" contestant is the most vulnerable to elimination. The first batch of contestants will couple up on night one; but with new contestants constantly entering the scene and "re-coupling" (breaking up existing couples), the initial couples don’t necessarily last long. Many contestants experience being "uncoupled" for some portion of their time at the villa. But with the addition of audience voting, even couples aren’t safe from elimination.
When prompted by the Love Island host, viewers will be able to log on to the Love Island app and vote for their favorite couples. The contestants’ fates will then be entirely in the hands of the voters, and the couples with the least votes will be up for elimination. It’s played out several times on Love Island U.K. — and yes, it’s brutal every time.
Voting adds a whole new dimension to Love Island not only for viewers, but for the contestants themselves. In addition to worrying about finding a potential match in the group of people at the villa, contestants need to ensure that they’re likable and entertaining enough to win the affection of fans back home. Oddly enough, the relationships and personas on Love Island U.K. haven’t seemed less authentic for it (less authentic than, say, The Bachelor, that is).
Love Island embraces the fact that it’s a mad free-for-all with ill-defined rules, and the contestants who do best are the ones who can keep a clear head on despite it. But hey, if you’re a TV viewer who despises clear-headed reality contestants, fear not: with a tap of your thumb, you can vote those couples away.
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