The entire nation was rocked on Monday when Niall Aslam left Love Island under very mysterious circumstances. Citing "personal reasons" the 23-year-old — who some were backing as an early frontrunner to win the ITV2 reality show — departed the villa under a shroud of uncertainty that has yet to lifted. So, will Niall return to Love Island? Or, will his absence remain one of life's great unsolved mysteries?
The likelihood of Niall's return all depends on the nature of his exit from the villa. ITV has remained pretty tight lipped on that particular subject, but it appears his exit wasn't anything that would prove detrimental to his character or lower him in the estimations of the British public. Speaking on ITV's Lorraine on Wednesday, The Sun's executive editor Dan Wootton confirmed he had been told by ITV that Niall didn't leave over anything sketchy. Thus, whatever the "personal reasons" behind his exit were, it looks like Niall stans can breath a deep sigh of relief.
So, what else could it be? While The Sun reports that even Niall's friends were confused by his Love Island departure and have been unable to contact him since, speculation about those "personal reasons" rages on. Currently, both The Sun and Daily Mail are reporting Niall withdrew from the competition for "health reasons." If that's the case, I think we all would wish him the best for a speedy recovery.
But Twitter, meanwhile, has another theory. Indeed, early speculation on the social media website suggests the Coventry University student had learned he failed his final exams while in the villa, meaning he would have to fly home for retakes in order to get his degree.
Whichever you believe, it seems both Niall's possible health concerns — permitting they are not too serious — and retaking of university exams wouldn't necessarily rule him out of returning to the villa, but has it been done before? In short, yes. Last year, previously axed contestants Sam Gowland and Mike Thalassitis returned to live in the villa, which suggests Niall may be able to do the same. And — judging by other previous series' — there's also the possibility Niall could return to just clear up his exit for his very confused fans. Or, you know, confront Georgia Steel about seeming completely unbothered by his departure.
Cast your mind back to the second series of Love Island and you will remember the national media attention that Terry Walsh's relationship with Emma Jane Woodhams drew following their now infamous over-the-covers escapades. While you may remember those very well — as I'm sure so do the witnessing 2016 Islanders — what may have escaped your memory is what happened after.
While coupling up with Emma, Terry was technically still in a relationship with former Islander Malin Andersson. And, despite being axed from the villa weeks before, Malin returned to the show to confront Terry on camera, although it must be pointed out she never returned to the villa itself. Thus, if Niall were to return, this could also be an option for him.
Nonetheless, if he is to return to the villa, Niall may face competition from the series' first evicted Islander, Kendall Rae-Knight.
Following her departure, there were rumours Kendall may return to the Love Island villa to confront Adam Collard. However, that also seems unlikely now, given recent pictures have emerged of Kendall kissing Love Island 2017 winner Kem Cetinay. So, that could come as very good news for Niall permitted he wants — and is allowed — to return.
Whether he returns to the villa or not, I wish Niall well and hope he can find love regardless of whether it unfolds on my TV screen or not.
Love Island airs on ITV2, Sunday to Friday at 9 p.m.