Maya Jama has left the Love Island contestants in shock after announcing the arrival of the first bombshell of the new series.
The launch of the ITV2 dating show’s ninth series saw a fresh crop of islanders enter a luxury villa in South Africa on Monday night.
As the islanders settled into their new home and began to get to know each other, the show’s new host Maya Jama made a surprise visit and broke the news of a late arrival.
The 28-year-old presenter, who took over from Laura Whitmore after she announced she was stepping down from the show in August, told the islanders: “As you know, this is Love Island and we always say expect the unexpected, and you never know when someone will walk through that door.
“The public have been voting on who should be the first bombshell to enter the Love Island villa. Islanders, get ready, this is Tom.”
After a public vote, 23-year-old semi-pro footballer Tom Clare from Barnsley was chosen to enter the villa as the first bombshell of the series.
Before leaving the villa, Jama warned the male islanders: “In 24 hours Tom will get the chance to couple up with the girl of his choice, leaving one of you single and your place on the island at risk.
“I suggest you boys get grafting and hold on tight to your girls.”
Before his arrival, a confident Tom said: “I’m definitely going to be scoring some goals in the villa.
“If there’s a girl I want and she is coupled up, nine times out of 10 I will get her.”
Earlier in the programme the show’s initial couples were revealed after a coupling-up ceremony hosted by Jama.
Kicking off the coupling was biomedical student Tanya Manhenga, who chose airport security officer Shaq Muhammad.
Lana Jenkins, a make-up artist from Luton, chose to couple up with the show’s first visually impaired contestant, Ron Hall.
After coupling and recoupling a number of times, Kai Fagan, a PE and science teacher from Manchester, ended up with Tanyel Revan, a hairstylist from north London,
Anna-May Robey, a payroll administrator from Swansea, was ultimately coupled with TV salesman Haris Namani, from Doncaster, who said “there’s no girl that’s ever turned me down” but admitted he has never been in love.
The two remaining islanders – actress Olivia Hawkins, who initially chose to couple up with Kai, and farmer and TikTok star Will Young – formed the final couple.
Olivia appeared initially unimpressed when Will revealed he had another girl’s initial tattooed on his ankle.
“Why would you tell me that? You should have lied!” she said.
Jama suggested she has faced difficulties in her past relationships during the launch show.
She told the 10 new contestants: “Don’t forget, finding your perfect match is never that simple – trust me, I know.”
Jama parted ways with ex-boyfriend Stormzy in summer 2019 after more than four years together and was later in a relationship with American basketball player Ben Simmons.
During the episode, she quizzed the male islanders to find out what they are looking for from the girls.
Asked about his type, Shaq said: “I go for more personality and vibes but she’s definitely got to be funny – funny is top of my list, I love it.”
Haris revealed he has never been in a relationship, and Kai said he is “looking for a wifey”.
The new series is the show’s first winter series since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Love Island airs at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX.