Love Island UK Season 10 Ends With an Unexpected Pair of Winners

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After laughing and crying through 57 episodes of the British hit reality show Love Island UK, we’ve made it to the end: On Monday, islanders Jess Harding and Sammy Root were announced the winners of the show’s 10th season, taking home a £50,000 prize.

“What is going on?,” said Root, 22, on the finale right after his win, seeming just as shocked as the public for his win. “I’m over the moon!”

An overwhelming amount of Love Island fans were shocked by the couple's victory, as many thought Whitney Adebayo and Lochan Nowacki, who placed second, were favored to win after gaining the public’s vote for “favorite couple” a week prior to the finale.

The comment section of Love Island's official social media accounts are being inundated with thousands of disappointed fans vocalizing their speculation that the votes were "rigged" or that elements of "racism" could have involved in the public's vote, as Adebayo and Nowachi are BIPOC islanders and Adebayo would have been Love Island UK's first Black winner.

Season 2's Molly Mae, arguably the most successful star to come out of the Love Island franchise, even vocalized her disagreement on a social media comment writing, "What? Whitney completely deserved this!'

Love Island has since released the vote breakdown via a Threads post revealing it was a nearly 8% vote difference for first and second place.

Harding and Root, who became a couple during filming, have had a tumultuous journey in the villa, making their win a surprise to viewers. Harding was part of the season’s original cast, and found a romantic connection with Root on day 4, when he entered as a “bombshell,” a new cast member thrown into the mix specifically to shake things up.

Over the eight weeks of the show, the pair went through several ups and downs. In week 3, after they had a series of arguments in front of their fellow castmates, the villa voted Harding and Root as least compatible couple, causing a twist that would separate the pair for the following weeks. Harding tried to get to know other romantic contenders, but remained intent on reconnecting with Root, who in the meantime, controversially pursued connections with at least four other women who entered the villa later. After some more arguments and an ultimatum from Harding, the couple came back together for a less rocky journey—and snagged the crown.

Ultimate fan favorite Adebayo, who came in as an early bombshell on Day 3, has been a fan favorite since first entering and being coupled with French islander Mehdi Edno. In Week 4, Edno was eliminated from the show, and Adebayo coupled up with Nowacki. They’ve been together since meeting during the show’s midseason ‘Casa Amor’ twist. The two have left the island with an “exclusive” label (a Love Island term that signals a relationship may be on the horizon).

The feisty couple Tyrique Hyde and Ella Thomas came in third place, while the mostly consistent couple Molly Marsh and Zachariah Noble ended up in fourth.

A dating show that started in 2015, Love Island has become a cultural phenomenon that offers its viewers an abundance of content: six episodes air each week, and each are accompanied with a daily Love Island: The Morning After podcast, weekly ‘Unseen Bits,’ and live Aftersun episodes. The show has become so widely received that other countries like the U.S., France and Australia have started their own versions.

Season 10 was packed with entertainment—from a diverse cast of dozens of islanders to unpredictable twists including season 2 bombshell Kady McDermott returning seven years later for the new season and prompting one of the Marsh to be dumped in one of the most sudden moves in Love Island history (Marsh, of course, would eventually return in another plot twist and place third). Then there was the one islander Mitchel Taylor who managed to make it nearly a month in the villa without a romantic connection, and all the way to finale week despite his Big Brother-like game playing that gave him the title “Messy Mitch” amongst his fellow island mates.

“I think that the islanders have given us more drama than ever,” says the show’s host Maya Jama, who despite her role, requests that production not share spoilers so that her reactions are genuine. “They wore their hearts on their sleeves and they were just very unpredictable as a result. You can’t ask for more than that from Love Island contestants.” As for islander Taylor, Jama says he “could be one of the messiest islanders ever.”

The reception to Harding and Root has been a mixed bag. “Never watching this stupid show again,” wrote one upset Twitter user, getting over 20,000 likes within minutes of the winner announcement. “Tell me Maya made a mistake announcing the winners,” wrote another, getting 8,000 likes in the same time frame.

“I feel like Twitter has come alive with their reactions and has become such a big part of Love Island,” says Jama of the fan response.

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