If you put all your Love Island eggs into the Johnny Middlebrooks and Cely Vazquez basket, you may be regretting it now. Once viewed as the most solid "power couple" there could ever be on a dating competition show, the couple ran into a big hurdle in the form of Mercades Schell, who was introduced as part of the franchise's signature Casa Amor twist. She immediately set her sights on Johnny, and the two got hot and heavy -- in challenges, out of challenges and even in bed.
Though Johnny ultimately chose to return to the villa to reunite with Cely (the explosive aftermath played out on Sunday's episode), Mercades -- who was eliminated because she wasn't chosen by an islander -- told ET's Ash Crossan after the latest episode that she believes Johnny isn't all that he seems to be. The 26-year-old New Mexico native intimated that it was Johnny who pursued her when she entered Casa Amor.
"It's almost like I walked in and I was claimed, you know," Mercades said. Her fellow eliminated islander, Faith Tyrell, echoed Mercades' observation, citing the Casa Amor vs. the Villa competition where Johnny intentionally made his way to Mercades after the challenge was over and took "into the most passionate kiss. Mercades was pursued by Johnny."
"Yes, from the beginning," Mercades agreed. "I just felt like, 'Okay,' like, I didn't even know how to take it. That's how strong he was coming on. I had to tell him like, 'You better be up front with Cely. She needs to know.' There were a couple of times where I didn't even know how to handle how strong he's coming on. Even the girls felt like they couldn't talk to him because of how strong he was coming onto me. Like I said, when I walked in, that wasn't even a focus."
"And then when I tried to take my focus off of him and go to Carrington [Rodriguez], he was making little remarks like, 'Have fun on your date. If you feel like you need to do that to get to know him to get to know him, go for it.' And I was just like, 'Okay, someone's jealous but you're telling me you want Cely and in bed it's very different. I'm just so confused by you,'" she recalled.
"I think he's honestly in it for the game. He's super fake and I will be expecting him in my DMs, so y'all will know that," Mercades declared.
Mercades said she felt like Johnny was "a hundred percent" possessive over her while they were at Casa Amor. And the observations made by Faith and eliminated islander GiNelle Ritzell supported that. "Even the girls were like, 'Dude, you and Johnny...' and I was like, 'Uh, me and Johnny...." GiNelle noted that Johnny wanted "to have his cake and eat it too. He wanted to have all of Mercades but have the image of like, 'Oh no, I'm super into Cely.'"
"I even told him, 'I'm not going to be some fun for you at Casa Amor' and that's when my direction went from Johnny to Carrington," Mercades shared, "and [Johnny] was pissed about it. He was so pissed, a hundred percent. I think he even told Carrington, 'No, you're not allowed.'"
Asked whether she believes Johnny's feelings for Cely are genuine, Mercades was quick with a firm "no." "It's maybe there, but I don't know. If he was so quick to [turn]..."
At the time of the interview, Mercades and the girls hadn't watched Sunday's episode but learned that Johnny downplayed his extracurriculars at Casa Amor, putting much of the blame on Mercades.
"Oh my god, I expected it," she said stunned. "I have a really big feeling he's not going to say what he actually did." Viewers didn't get to see Johnny's goodbye to Mercades, but she revealed their hug was a little too intimate for her liking. "Even when he was saying 'bye,' I felt like he was a little too close for comfort by my lips. That hug didn't need to be like that if you were going home to Cely, just sayin'. You could've just said 'bye' and we would've been fine."
If there was a Love Island do-over, Mercades said she "would shut Johnny down and be like, 'No, nuh-uh. I would've embarrassed him in so many ways and just been like -- how do I even say this? I feel like I was claimed and had no real say-so. I would definitely go in there with a better mind on who I'm going for and my interests, rather than, 'Okay, where does the wind take me!' This definitely was like Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. I was a little upset on that because that's not what I went in for."
Love Island airs nightly on CBS. To watch interviews with other recently eliminated islanders following Casa Amor, watch ET's interview below.
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