'Love Island' Season 2 Kicks Off in Vegas With First Kisses and Controversial Couples
By Zach Seemayer
The second season of Love Island USA kicked off on Monday, and things heated up quickly in just the first episode. From the first pair during the initial coupling ceremony, fans on Twitter were already stirred up.
This season -- due to COVID-19 precautions -- didn't actually take place on an island, but on the roof of a Las Vegas casino, which narrator Matthew Hoffman addressed directly, joking, "Look, rooftops are islands now. What are you, a geography major?"
When it came to the contestants, fans got a chance to meet the first five women, and then the first five men were introduced one by one. After being introduced to the first guy, Jeremiah White, the ladies were asked who was interested in pairing up with him.
Justine Ndiba was the only woman to step forward, but Jeremiah turned her down and decided to couple up with Cely Vazquez instead. In fact, none of the guys chose Justine. However, when Tre Forte picked Cely -- sending Jeremiah to the bench for the rest of the coupling ceremony -- Justine and Jeremiah ended up getting paired together by default.
Among viewers, this slight against Justine felt emblematic of the kind of treatment Black women have faced that's been a problematic aspect of dating shows.
Unfortunately, from their first real conversation, it was pretty clear there wasn't a whole lot of chemistry between Justine and Jeremiah, to the extent that their first chat quickly led to Justine wondering out loud if they were allowed to take home the wine glasses.
The awkwardness and "immediate friend-zoning" -- as Justine and Jeremiah both called it later -- was not missed by fans.
This girl is already thinking about taking glasswear, not a good sign #LoveIslandUSA
It was their quick bond that seemed to make Justine feel worse. She was brought to tears thinking about how difficult it had been to find someone who likes her.
"I'm looking for what Moira and James had, they clicked right away," Justine said in a solo interview. "Love Island is betraying me... It's day one, I shouldn't be frustrated... but I can't handle it. How is there not a connection? There's like six guys here."
Later, however, she and Jeremiah sat down again and both said they felt they were vibing in a real way and that they should give their connection another shot.
As for the show's other couples, Carrington Rodriguez paired up with Kaitlynn Anderson, while Mackenzie Dipman and Connor Trott hit it off as well. The first real twist came with the introduction of the sixth guy, Johnny Middlebrooks, who would eventually get to steal one of the ladies for himself at the end of the episode.
As the two-hour season premiere came to an end, Johnny ended up choosing Cely -- who seemed pretty content with swapping him for Tre, who is now single and at risk of getting kicked off the "island."
Something fans also noticed is the role the coronavirus outbreak seems like it might have on this season -- specifically how wild it's likely to get, since everyone looking for love has been isolated and socially distanced for months and are now free to get close.