The season nine finale of Love Island took place just two weeks ago – bringing a close to potentially the most boring season yet.
This year’s Love Island, the second-ever winter series, did bring some drama. Tom kissing Ellie on the terrace, the fall out to Casa Amor, and Casey and Claudia’s bust-up at the beach house party to name a few. However, it seemed that this series lacked any truly iconic characters. Last year had Ekin-Su, and the year before had Chloe Burrows, but 2023 fell short of such a memorable contestant. Anyone that showed potential to receive this icon status either left the show too early (Zara and Tanyel) or had a major downfall in public popularity (Olivia). By the end of the series, it seems that the most liked and most entertaining contestant was farmer Will, and he didn’t even make it to the final.
Despite this, four couples managed to end up at the top, making it to the Love Island final that took place on the 13th of March. The final four couples were Ron and Lana, Shaq and Tanya, Kai and Sanam, and Tom and Samie. The episode followed the usual format of the final – dancing lessons, a girls spa day, followed by the islanders’ declarations of love. The contestants reflected on the past 8 weeks, with the girls discussing how they feel they’ve found themselves as women during this time.
The ‘declarations of love’ that the couples share with one another brought updates to some of the relationships. Tom and Samie admitted that they had fallen in love with one another, and Ron and Lana did the same. This means that by the day of the final, the only couple who had not dropped the ‘L-Bomb’ was Kai and Sanam.
The second half of the episode revealed the public’s vote and began announcing the winners. Firstly, Shaq and Tanya found themselves in fourth place. Shaq and Tanya started the series off strong, having said that they were in love after one week. In fact, many believed that they would come out on top. However, the familiar tale of Casa Amor ended in their downfall. Breaking tradition, it was the girl that had strayed, with Tanya bringing Martin back to the main villa. This left Shaq undeniably heartbroken, and most of the public felt for him. However, it wasn’t long until he had forgiven Tanya and they got back together, leaving Martin feeling manipulated in the process. The couple’s popularity dropped quickly after these events, and they began to consistently be in the bottom 3 couples at any public vote.
In light of this, it is actually a shock that the couple made it to the final. This is because all of the islanders had to vote for the least compatible couple, and Shaq and Tanya had received no votes. This meant that they, along with Tom and Samie, were not open to the public vote and were guaranteed a spot in the final. Many viewers believe that if all couples were up for the public vote, Will and Jessie would have taken their spot in the final. This is also shown by the fact that Shaq and Tanya had received a minuscule 2% of the public vote in the final, potentially one of the least favoured final couples to win in Love Island history. Despite this, they left the villa boyfriend and girlfriend, so clearly there is something that the public overlooked about this couple.
In third place came Tom and Samie. Tom had quite a turbulent start to his Love Island journey, being branded the nickname ‘terrace Tom’ due to his quick turnaround of girls he was spending time with on the infamous terrace. However, when bombshell Samie arrived it seemed to turn things around for him. Of course, he had strayed in Casa Amor where he was getting to know Lydia. However, he chose to stick with Samie and she eventually forgave him after he serenaded her with a very sweet (yet questionable in quality) poem. This couple was a fan favourite throughout most of the show, however, they lost some popularity during the last week. Samie appeared to be gossiping a lot about Ron and Lana’s relationship, specifically Ron’s authenticity. Fans were not happy about this, as it seemed that the whole villa was targeting Ron and Lana, who only had Kai and Sanam in their corner. Despite Tom and Samie seemingly being a strong couple, this potentially lost them the win.
Despite the attacks from many islanders in the villa, Ron and Lana had the last laugh as they came second in the final. Having been together from the start, Ron and Lana were in the final as an official couple. Ron did sway quite a bit at the beginning, with his head being turned for bombshells Ellie and Samie. However, after almost losing Lana to Casey, he managed to win her back. The couple had been plain sailing since then, with both of them staying faithful during Casa Amor. It was during the final week that this couple had truly won over the public when we saw them sticking together despite the attempts of other contestants to break them up.
Kai and Sanam were crowned winners of Love Island 2023, with Sanam being the first ever Casa Amor bombshell to win the show. At the beginning of the show, Kai was continually voted as one of the least favoured islanders by the public. However, Sanam seemed to turn this all around when she showed a different side to him. Many people believe that Kai’s redemption arc had begun with his refusal to apologise to Olivia, who had quickly become one of the least-liked islanders by the public. Kai and Sanam went from strength to strength after this, and it was clear that they were very genuinely interested in each other. This season was filled with people talking behind each others’ backs, but Kai and Sanam stayed completely out of any drama. This was definitely a fresh of breath air to Love Island viewers, which ultimately led to their success.
As a teacher and a social worker, there was certainly nobody else more deserving of being crowned winners of Love Island season nine and receiving the £50,000 cash prize.