Love Island Viewers Left Perplexed As Show Welcomes Its First Celebrity Contestant

The cast of Love Island 2024
The cast of Love Island 2024 ITV/Shutterstock

Love Island viewers have been left slightly baffled after discovering that a certain reality star is joining the villa.

While it’s not unusual for social media stars, influencers and even the occasional aspiring athlete to join the reality dating series, the long-running ITV show has never featured a celebrity contestant.

Until now, that is, as former The Only Way Is Essex star Joey Essex has been announced as the latest islander to join this season’s line-up.

“The only way is… Essex,” Love Island’s official X account shared on Monday night. “The Love Island Villa just got a bit more ‘reem’ as Joey Essex has arrived to find his future wife.”

The brand new cast of 12 singletons looking for love were announced last week, with makes Joey being the first Bombshell contestant of the new series.

“I’m extremely single right now, so I’m praying that I’m going to walk out of the villa hand in hand with the love of my life, that’s my main aim and all I care about,” Joey told The Sun before landing in Mallorca.

“It’s difficult for me to meet girls as they judge me based on a persona so I think this experience will allow people to see the real me.”

Joey Essex makes his way into the Love Island villa
Joey Essex makes his way into the Love Island villa ITV/Shutterstock

However, the news hasn’t been all that positively received.

“This is the most confusing thing I think the show has done,” one X user wrote, while another agreed: “This was so random.”

“The devil works hard but Joey Essex’s agent works harder,” a third joked.

Meanwhile, for some, the announcement has definitely given them another reason to watch the show.

“Damn every time I stop watching they reel me back in,” one person said. “That’s gonna be elite telly,” another X user shared.

Mostly, though, viewers have just been left confused by the whole thing…

Joey first found fame on The Only Way Is Essex from 2011 to 2013, before going on to compete on the 13th series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, where he came fourth (losing out to Westlife’s Kian Egan).

He’s since gone on to feature in other reality shows like Celebrity Ex On The Beach, Dancing On Ice, Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Celebrity MasterChef and The Jump, which he won.

The 11th series of Love Island got underway last night (3 June), with Maya Jama back on presenting duties. This season is expected to last about eight weeks, but no dates for the final have been announced yet. 

Earlier this year also marked the first time former contestants returned to the villa for Love Island All Stars, while a second series has already been confirmed for 2025.

Love Island airs at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX on Tuesday, 4 June.