Love Island 2024: Will the Underdog Prevail?

By Rosie Bettis, Planner/Buyer

Back with a Bang

Love Island Season 11 returned to our screens at the beginning of the June, with Maya Jama welcoming back a fresh batch of singles to the sunny island of Majorca for a summer of love. We’ve seen a run of tepid winter seasons, lack-luster summer editions and of course the most recent return of Love Island alumni with the anticipated ‘All Stars’. I for one, did not have high hopes for another summer of primed, twentysomethings in complicated swimwear for this year’s summer season but safe to say the new season has certainly turned my head.

Arguably what makes this season promising, is the refreshing selection of ‘normal’ islanders; Jess the M&S retail manager, Kieran the 21 year old South Wales surveyor and Nichole the accounts manager. Even before the first episode’s shock twist arrival of TOWIE legend Joey Essex, this season had proved to be 100% my type on paper. And clearly I wasn’t the only one, the show brought in a peak overnight rating of 2.2m viewership on opening night – the highest ever viewing of the program to date.

Who is this season’s Underdog?

At JAA, we are big fans of backing the underdog – it’s at the heart of everything we do. Which bodes the question, which contestant is deemed this year’s ‘underdog’ and why?

Let’s be honest, some Love Island contestants are fairly insufferable. But this season sees contestants showcasing their natural charm effortlessly. Clearly being normal people doing normal jobs helps the public feel connected with these people we choose to watch on our TV screen every night. Iconic Scouser Samantha, and adorably cringey sweets salesman Sean are amongst the group who have flown out to find love this summer, and we’re all rooting for them to get their grafting shoes on.

Money on Mimi

Ranked by her fellow islands in episode 1 as ‘most girlfriend material’, is exactly what I think makes Mimi this year’s ultimate underdog. As soon as she declared her profession as a mental health nurse from Portsmouth in her intro VT, I immediately crowed her my winner of the season.

A winner not being outlandishly confident and controversial would be refreshing. She’s endearing and loveable, and not someone to stick it on factor 50, it’s her quietness and calm demeanor that makes her even more captivating to watch.

She seems somewhat out of place in a villa full of confident, outspoken singles but she’s proven her ability to hold her own. When her love match was stolen from her she stole him straight back and the public continue to save her in vote off’s which shows we are all collectively rallying behind the 24 year old to find her perfect partner.

What also makes Mimi the underdog is that she is one of few contestants to actually apply herself for this year’s show, describing it as a “spontaneous decision”. Recently though, her introverted character has clearly taken a hit on her airtime, so will the public lose interest in her promising underdog love story?

The Only Way is…

We can’t talk about this season without touching on the plot twist of the century…

If Joey Essex’s arrival was a tactical PR stunt to get people hyped about the show again, well, it’s worked. The launch episode was watched by 3.3m (including VOD). His natural charm and charisma is what has made him a favourite on our TV screens for nearly 15 years, and as he enters a new era of fame in his thirties, loyal fans of the show have questioned whether getting him in this year was a ploy by producers to either keep the show alive, or an audience pull to engage the 30+ audience?

Joey has soaked up the controversy and divided opinions both in and outside of the villa, but many viewers think he could genuinely go on to win. His age, coupled with his apparent hope to ‘genuinely find love’ has sucked us all into the belief that he isn’t there to just enhance his already lucrative career in the reality TV lime light.

Cynic or not Love Island 2024 has got me hooked. The view figures show that it’s back in the game so the question is who will be the winner?