Goodbye, Fiji! Hello, Las Vegas! Here's the scoop on all the changes for the new season of CBS' dating show.
When Love Island kicks off season 2, the new Islanders won't be looking for love in a sprawling villa on a Fiji beach. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, they'll instead be whisked away to the bright lights of Las Vegas, where they'll be searching for lasting romance atop The Cromwell Hotel in the Love Island-ified Drai's nightclub -- complete with the Sin City skyline behind them. (Meet the 11 Islanders entering the villa on premiere night.)
"I love Vegas for this show because of the fact that there's so much energy here," host Arielle Vandenberg tells ET's Lauren Zima of the location switch. "It's a perfect place and I’m so excited it's here because the lights, the energy, the vibe, it just feels very Love Island-y even though we're not on an island."
Even without the island breeze and sandy beaches at the Islanders' disposal, the production team transformed the rooftop into an urban version of the show's signature villa -- complete with all the Love Island essentials.
"If you've seen the show, you know there's an iconic fire pit where [Islanders] get dumped off the island and [where] all these things [happen]. They built this whole fire pit. They built a beautiful deck around the pool. They have this huge bedroom, big dressing rooms for the guys and girls," Vandenberg, 33, listsd off. "There's a big kitchen where they can all hang out. It feels a little bit of like a villa in the sky because you see the Vegas skyline."
But because of the Vegas bubble, that means Vandenberg and the Islanders will not be allowed to venture "off campus," which could offer some added layer of tension and drama. (Regular COVID tests will be administered while production is ongoing, Vandenberg shared.) She posited that the Islanders, who have been quarantining separately before they make their Love Island debuts, could be ready for human connection the moment they step foot in the villa.
"They are ready to get up in this villa because like most of us, we've all been at home and quarantined and feeling like, 'Where the heck am I supposed to meet anybody during this time?' What's really cool about Love Island season 2 is that we are providing them with the perfect place to do it," she says. "We are in this Love Island bubble. [It's] super safe. There's no room for error. We are being cautious and it's kind of cool that they actually have an opportunity to meet somebody new."
While the first season of Love Island produced a few couples who dated after the show ended, it appears none have stayed together -- including winners Zac Mirabelli and Elizabeth Weber, who split in December. Part of the Love Island appeal is seeing which Islanders couple up. "You never really know, right?" Vandenberg said when asked if season 2 will create lasting relationships. "There are going to be relationships. There's going to be PDA, drama, relationships, temptation. I don't think like being in quarantine is going to affect the way these people are PDAing."
There will be new season 2 twists. For one thing, Love Island will introduce Casa Amor -- a staple of the original U.K. series -- this summer. How will this second villa affect the Islanders' hunt for love? As couples settle in, a handful of new Islanders shake things up as they try to snatch up a coupled-up Islander and tempt them over to Casa Amor. "It will definitely bring a lot more Islanders, a lot more temptation and a lot more drama," Vandenberg teased.
Additionally, the villa will feature a secret jacuzzi for the Islanders to sneak off to for some quality time while no one is looking. And like last season, viewers will have even more power in the Islanders' futures, deciding on everything from who enters the villa, who gets dumped, who gets a date and a say in which couple will win the $100,000 grand prize -- all through the official Love Island app.
Vandenberg hasn't met the Islanders yet -- she'll get that honor on Day 1 -- but she already has her eye on a few hopeless romantics. "There's a girl named Moira [Tumas] who I think is so cute," she said, referring to the 28-year-old Shopping Channel model from Brielle, New Jersey, adding that the five women are "all so flirty and fun." On the guys' side, she's curious about one in particular. "There's a guy [James McCool] who's fully tatted, so that will be fun to see which girls go for the fully-tatted guy," she said of the 27-year-old personal trailer from Winchester, Virginia.
"This is going to be such a rad season," Vandenberg promised, noting that Love Island likely won't acknowledge the pandemic outside of a mention or two. "I'm so happy that we're here and we're going because with everything going on, you don't know what the next day is going to bring. So the fact that we're here and it's happening and we are airing soon, I just can't wait."
"What happens on Vegas ends up on CBS, y'all -- seven nights a week," she quipped.
Love Island returns with a two-hour premiere on Monday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS and will air nightly at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with highlight episodes airing Saturdays.
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