We Watched 'Love Island' US And It's Like The UK Version On Steroids
Five series into Love Island and there's absolutely zero doubt it's a winning dating show formula. It's always the most-talked about show of the summer and in terms of viewing figures, it's one of the most successful shows ITV have ever aired. So it's no surprise then that America wanted a slice of the pie, too.
Sure enough, our mates over the pond have begun their own version of the hit reality show, and the first episode of Love Island US aired last night.
Out of morbid curiosity we watched it, eager to see how it compared to our version in the UK, and
desperately subtly hoping that it wouldn't trump our modest, homegrown UK version complete with its massive budgets (the prize money is $100,000 - so double ours) and viewership in the tens of millions. WHY CAN'T WE HAVE NICE THINGS?
Predictably, the main takeaway was that the US version is like ours but on steroids. The contestants are twice as bubbly, the villa makes ours look like an old shack, and everything is far, far more dramatic.
Here are the main comparisons between the two..
Firstly, Love Island US is set in Fiji as opposed to Mallorca. Yes, the Americans have taken their show to the tropics, far, far away from the European setting our villa dwells in.
You've got to wonder if the show producers did their homework though, as July and August are technically Fiji's 'winter' with lows of 20 degrees. It's also their windiest months, which is going to be a nightmare for the keeping the girls' long hair in place... imagine!
It even chucks it down on the first day, forcing all the Islanders to take shelter. Don't get that in Mallorca, do you? Hmmm!
The Love Island US villa is literally triple the size of ours - which is annoying - but it features all the same familiar Love Island accents such as fairy lights in the garden, neon signs saying stuff like 'Good vibes only' and 'Hello gorgeous', and bean bags in the garden. There's also 3,000 tropical plants.
As for the layout, it's pretty similar, too, with a vast timber decking, a fire pit area where all the girls gather to have a chat about their 'type' when they arrive, a breakfast bar area which is MASSIVE in comparison to ours and a communal bedroom area.
There's also a terrace-type area, where all of the private chats and smooching happens, and don't even get us started on the Hideaway. Where ours is a tacky but lovable boudoir of fur rugs and silk bed sheets, the US one looks like something out of a interiors catalogue, devoid of any irony or fun. We win there, sorry US.
As for the pool, the UK pool is big enough to fit a couple of swan-shaped pool floats, but the one in the US villa is near Olympic sized. No joke.
Just the same as in the UK, the contestants are all unfathomably good-looking with toned bodies, sparkling white teeth and follower counts in their thousands.
There's the same girly camaraderie between the girls when they enter the villa, except for far more squealing, jumping up and down and shouting things like "OH SNAP!" at each other.
As for the boys, there's similar bro bants, first bumps and "DUDE!"-ing going on.
Aside from the US version only being on for four weeks, as opposed to our eight, and being on five nights a week instead of our six, the format seems to remain pretty much the same.
The girls ride in on trucks, flailing their arms in the air and pop the champagne open as they wait for the boys. Next they face the first coupling, where the boys enter one and at a time to whoops and screams. Of course, there is a curveball Islander who enters last minute - Kyra - who has 24 hours to couple up with one of the lads.
Once the coupling is done and the Islanders have a chance to mingle, they head upstairs to get ready for their first night. The only difference seems to be that there appears to be a joint dressing room (what? How will the girls' gossip behind the boys' backs?) and the couples' get ready together. Cara and Cashel even pick out each others outfit (cute!).
Next, the Islanders all meet downstairs for a drink and we get some slo-mo shots of the couples' dancing ("anyone wanna country dance?" is shouted over the crowd), and the singles mingle.
There's also the obligatory toast, where the villa's Curtis-equivalent (at this point Cashel) does a little speech. Where Curtis might have cheersed to "a great first night", Cashel rather cringely orates: "There's lots of different types of ships, ships that pass in the night, ships that float, but the best kind of ships are friendships." Simply beautiful. Someone in the crowd whoops "to Jesus!" and the Islanders get on with their first night.
One huge point of interest was whether the Islanders would get texts and indeed, if they'd shout "I've got a text!", being the biggest the catchphrase from the UK show. And yes... they did.
The Islanders are instructed to gather at the fire pit for the first recoupling and it's SO much more dramatic than the UK recouplings. Literally life or death stuff. We're talking Carmina Burana playing in the background, the lot.
Arielle Vandenberg is the US equivalent to Caroline Flack, who has equally great hair and legs. She is a model, actress and social media star who found fame through her hilarious Vines. She's also acted in shows such as Greek, How I Met Your Mother, Meet the Browns, and Bones.
As for the narrator, Matthew Hoffman has taken on the role, and it's big boots to fill considering Iain Stirling has become a household name thanks to his witty one-liners and hilarious take-downs of the Islanders.
Unfortunately, Matthew's already received some criticism for his narration. *Cough*, do we make that one point to the UK?
In conclusion, we don't think the US version beats ours. It simply doesn't have the same charm, but hey, we're biased! Still, it's definitely worth watching if you've found yourselves addicted to Love Island, and if nothing more, it'll give us something to watch when our series ends in just over two weeks (boohoo).
Love Island US airs at 8pm EST on CBS. It's not available in the UK but you can sign up to CBS All Access, which offers a one-week free trial where you can watch to your heart's content.
After that, if you're hooked you'll have to pay $5.99 (£4.80) per month, but you'll need a form of payment that's registered in the US. Where there's a will, there's a way...
Featured Image Credit: CBS