The Love Island Villa Is Harder To Get Into Than Cambridge

The Love Island Villa Is Harder To Get Into Than Cambridge

June is everyone’s favourite time of the year – not because of the sun, or the chance to hang out with friends in a beer garden, or even because of the many holidays and festivals we have booked. No, no – it’s because Love Island is officially back on our TV screens this evening.

Whether you’ve watched the ITV2 favourite or not, it’s hard to argue with its immense popularity last year. In fact, the final episode of the 2017 series broke ITV2 records, with 2.43m viewers – compared to 1.3m the year before – tuning in to see Kem and Amber crowned the winners and bag that £50,000 prize money.

And with its popularity growing exponentially over the past couple of years, a spot on the show is in even higher demand. New statistics compiled by The Tab show that the series is now more difficult to get into than Cambridge University – yep, more people applied for a spot in the villa than for a place at the top-rated uni last year.

In 2016, the rates were much closer. 18,000 applicants applied to Love Island, while 16,750 applicants tried for a place at Cambridge. But in 2017, the applicant number for the TV show stood at around 80,000, while the number of teens applying for a spot at Cambridge came to around 17,171, making Love Island almost five times more competitive – and with a far lower success rate. Essentially, you have more of a chance getting into Cambridge than you do the ITV2 show – and with popularity continuing to surge, who knows what the number could be at this year.

And is it really that surprising people are more interested in being whisked away to the hot, hot island of Majorca for a free summer holiday filled with sunbathing, relaxation and oiled-up members of the opposite sex? Surely that beats a dorm room on a rainy day, with the weight of university work slowly crushing your soul? And not only that, it’s likely that Love Islanders will have better career prospects once leaving the show, what with all those coveted Dancing on Ice spots to fill and teeth whitening strips to sell.

But it seems some of this year’s Love Islanders might even have the brains to blag themselves a spot at both Cambridge and the villa – this year’s current male favourite, Alex George, is an A&E doctor from Carmarthen, while 20-year-old Wes Nelson is an electrical and nuclear systems design engineer.

But as the show's viewers continue to grow, with great popularity comes great responsibility. There have been calls for the newest series to be vigilant in curbing the 'slut-shaming' previously seen in the past two seasons (now available to binge on Netflix, if you want to see the full horror of it).

In series two, former Miss Great Britain, Zara Holland, was stripped of her title whilst in the villa – and completely lambasted by the vast majority of her female housemates – for having consensual, sober sex with Alex Bowen on television. The Miss GB organisation said it could “no longer promote Zara as a positive role model" for doing something completely natural. And what about Alex? There were, of course, no repercussions for him, and he went on to have a successful relationship during the series.

Despite the backlash over Zara’s treatment, there were still moments of shaming in series three – Kem Cetinay immediately went off Amber Davies for revealing she once had sex with two guys in the same night, despite the fact the male Islanders revealing they’d slept with over 300 girls between them. 

So what about this year’s female hopefuls? Last year’s contestant, Tyla Carr, had a suggestion for them this week: “I would advise girls to hold themselves well. You will get better jobs after the show if you don’t do it. If you have sex on the show it can tarnish your image just a little bit. So it’s better not to.”

Hopefully the new ladies won’t take Tyla’s advice at face value. As the Metro’s Emma Kelly put it, “Girls don’t need to stand to some weird higher standard; having sex, casually or in a relationship, doesn’t reduce your value like you’re some sort of product.” Considering the very premise of the show is if you’re single too long, you get booted out it’s no wonder all the housemates are running around, trying to find someone to cosy up to. Let’s hope this year’s lucky lot don’t chastise the women for doing just that.
Watch Love Island tonight at 9pm on ITV2

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