Love Island viewers appear to have made a dig at former host Laura Whitmore as the first series with her replacement aired. The presenter announced back in August following the conclusion of the summer series that she’d be stepping down from her role.
Sharing the news of her decision to step down from the popular ITV2 dating show at the time, Laura cited ‘flying back and forth’ between the UK and South Africa and ‘new conflicting projects.’ She also shared a sweet message to her friend Caroline, who tragically took her own life in February 2020, aged 40.
In October, after rumours she was set to take Laura’s place, it was announced that Maya would be the new Love Island host for its ninth series which kicked off on Monday night (January 16), and is the second-ever winter series, before the return of the much-loved summer run later in the year.
And fans were flocking to social media to comment on Maya’s debut in the role. Th 28-year-old, who is a self-confessed fan of the show, performed the show’s famous slow-motion entrance in a red two-piece crochet outfit. She also later suggested she has faced difficulties in her past relationships during the launch show.
She told the 10 new contestants, which include a James Bond actress, a farmer, and the show’s first partially blind contestant all enter the villa: “Don’t forget, finding your perfect match is never that simple – trust me, I know.”
@JMarleyWrites tweeted: “I mean Maya Jama has just shut down the whole show with that entrance.” @TeeXCI commented: “Maya Jama’s beauty is different man. Just give her the £50k and wrap up the series.” @mrqqus echoed: “Cancel the season and give Maya Jama the money.”
Fans of the show were also full of praise for the TV and radio star as she made multiple appearances throughout the series. While kicking off with a welcome from the new plush £1.2m villa, she later returned to meet the boys before facilitating the first coupling as the girls made their grand entrances.
And before the 90-minute launch episode was over, and just as the islanders were settling into their new home and began to get to know each other, Maya made a surprise visit and broke the news of a late arrival. She told the islanders: “As you know, this is Love Island and we always say expect the unexpected, and you never know when someone will walk through that door.
“The public have been voting on who should be the first bombshell to enter the Love Island villa. Islanders, get ready, this is Tom.” After a public vote, 23-year-old semi-pro footballer Tom Clare from Barnsley was chosen to enter the villa as the first bombshell of the series.
Before leaving the villa, Jama warned the male islanders: “In 24 hours Tom will get the chance to couple up with the girl of his choice, leaving one of you single and your place on the island at risk. I suggest you boys get grafting and hold on tight to your girls.”
But it appears viewers were more interested in how much time Maya spent in the villa during episode one. @AaliyahCHarry tweeted: “Maya is doing her JOB. Two appearances in the first episode? She said you WILL see these looks #LoveIsland.” @Aaron_Bumby commented: “I swear Maya Jama has already spent more time in the Villa than Laura Whitmore did for the whole of last season #loveisland.”
@NaomiRuth__ posted: “Imagine we’ve seen Maya twice in one episode. Laura we wouldn’t see her for another 6 weeks #LoveIsland.” @Charlie42341207 shared: “Episode 1 and we’ve seen more of Maya than Laura the whole of S8 #LoveIsland.” And fans were just completely distracted by the host.
@HalfbakedDre wrote: “I have a feeling we gonna be tweeting about Maya more than anything else this year and I’m not mad at it #LoveIsland.” @lolastics posted: “Not y’all tweeting more about Maya Jama than the islanders #LoveIsland.” @SassyUzy added: “Maya is probably getting more tweets than these islanders #LoveIsland.”
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