Love Island is returning to our screens sooner than can be imagined, and with that comes an insatiable curiosity as to how the show actually works, and how contestants are drawn to it in the first place. Of course, there’s the beautiful concept of ending singledom, finding romance, and living happily ever after, but let's not forget the other part of the package. If you're wondering what the prize is for Love Island, I've got you covered.
The prize itself is £50,000, but it's more of an afterthought than a main aspect of the show. ITV2’s 2018 contestant application form bears no mention to the prize money, only revealing that “the chosen cast will spend time in a luxury villa, getting to know one another — but to remain in paradise they must also win the hearts of the public.” The form, by the way, remains open to complete until July 20, 2018, so read into that what you will.
Talking about how avidly she watches Love Island as a "viewer first," presenter Caroline Flack told The Sun, "Love is what we all eventually want; we relate to it, we look for it," she said. "In a way, Love Island has taken us back to the old-fashioned way of dating." It’s a sentiment that certainly carries over to the show, where finding love is ultimately the main end goal. The £50,000 is just a side-winning... kind of.
Surprisingly, for a reality dating show such as this, the Love Island format is quite complicated. Set up in a Big Brother-esque format, the Islanders are situated in an isolated villa under video surveillance. The name of the game is “coupling”, where the islanders couple up with another Islander for a shot at winning a grand total of £50,000.
At the beginning of the show the contestants can pick their partners, but the real drama starts once they have to ditch their respective others or swap partners because if they don’t successfully re-couple, they are eliminated. Throughout the duration of the show new islanders are brought in to spice the atmosphere and ramp the tension, and it's even been reported in the Radio Times that there is a chance that a 2017 contestant could be turning up at the Villa.
Regular eliminations occur throughout the show and are voted for by the public, creating even more carnage as the islanders don’t have a say. In previous years, the original 11 contestants — and the extra Islanders — are whittled down to six, and out of the three couples left the public will vote for their favourite.
The drama doesn’t stop once there is a winning couple, either. The couple have a choice: they can either share the £50,000, meaning that they will have an equal £25,000 each, or they can try to "steal" and can keep it to themselves, meaning that the other would go home with nothing... sort of.
Once Love Island leaves their screens, audiences would have had eight weeks to get to know each contestant. There’s no doubt that when the show ends, the Islanders will have fervent fans following their social media accounts, ready to be influenced by their fashion, book choices, and even toothpaste (yes, really). Numerous promotional slots and publicity deals will get these Islanders up to the same amount as offered with the prize money in no time. Really, just being on Love Island is worth more than winning it in the end.
Judging by the already larger-than-life personalities revealed in the 2018 Islander line-up, there's no doubt that this lot will strive once they leave the villa in eight weeks, whether they end up winning the show or not.