“Love Island Games” is already bringing the heat to the villa, as the Peacock spin-off welcomes two new bombshells to the competition: “Love Island U.K.” alum Megan Barton Hanson and “Love Island U.S.A.” alum Johnny Middlebrooks.
Upon entering the villa at the end of Wednesday’s series premiere, “Love Island Games” host Maya Jama informed Barton Hanson and Middlebrooks they could choose to kiss two islanders of their choice. Middlebrooks immediately shook things up by choosing to kiss his ex, Cely Vazquez, and Imani Wheeler, both of whom appeared on “Love Island U.S.A.”
The catch is, however, that the islanders were blindfolded while the bombshells made their choices, leaving those who were picked for a smooch in the dark about the identity of the bombshell.
In an exclusive clip shared with TheWrap, Jama breaks downs the consequences of the bombshells’ decisions, which leaves Ray, who is coupled up with Wheeler, and Toby, who is coupled up with Vazquez, vulnerable to the threat of the bombshell. After the bombshell decides which islander they would like to attempt to couple up with, the islander’s current partner will face off with the bombshell in a duel to protect their status in the couple.
Below, Middlebrooks tells TheWrap about his choice to “break the ice” with Vazquez through a kiss after not seeing her for a year and a half, and what to expect from his time on the show this season.
TheWrap: Why did you want to join “Love Island Games?”
Middlebrooks: If I’m being completely honest, when I left “Love Island,” I never thought that I would be on another “Love Island”-related show ever again, or a dating show for that matter. But when I saw what it was — a global “Love Island” with people from all around the world competing — the competition aspect is what got me. I’m a real competitive guy, and I feel like a lot of people know that. “Love Island” — that’s where I started, so I’m coming back to my roots.
Did you expect to see Cely there?
I thought to myself, “They know what they’re doing — the ‘Love Island’ gods.” So when I saw Cely, sure, maybe I was a little surprised, but at the same time, I could’ve expected it.
When was the last time you saw Cely? How did you two leave it?
The last time I saw her, I think it was a year and a half ago, maybe, at a party in LA but it was in passing — we didn’t really speak. The last time we really spoke was our breakup in 2021.
When you found out about the opportunity for a bombshell to kiss two people of their choice, what was your immediate reaction? Why did you ultimately choose to kiss Cely and Imani?
As a bombshell, you gotta come in and shake s–t up. You gota blow it up. So I knew that coming in and kissing my ex was just gonna be … the crescendo — that’s what we’re here for.
I came in, I shook things up — I kissed my ex — That’s what I came here to do.
How did you imagine Cely was going to feel afterwards?
I honestly didn’t know how she’d react. It’s been so long since we’ve actually talked to each other, seen each other. For me, I was thinking, why not just break the ice and rip off a band aid? That’s what I did, and I didn’t really know how she was gonna react, nor did I care.
How was it to enter alongside Megan? Did you two talk about what you were gonna do?
Walking in with Megan was lit. For her, it’s been like four years [and] for me it’s been like three years since we’ve been in “Love Island.” We were kind of nervous, I’m not even gonna lie. We were nervous walking in — we were hyping each other up — like “you got this, you’re gonna kill it.” — just really just gassing each other up.
Ultimately, if you could do it all over again, would you want to come in as a bombshell or at the start?
Bombshell — that’s me all day. I wouldn’t change anything.
One of my favorite things about the show is seeing islanders from across the world — including U.S., U.K. and Australia — come together. What was it like meeting islanders from all across the franchise?
Seeing people from all across the world, it was different, because everyone already has their cliques — the U.K. boys stuck together, the U.S. girls stuck together and the U.S. guys were gravitating towards one another. It makes some separation from the beginning … but it was cool to really change things up and diversify things.
The “Games” element adds so much more to “Love Island.” Was the show what you expected in terms of the intensity of challenges?
I did not think “Love Island” was gonna bring that much intensity. I couldn’t ever expect it — I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect.
We play games on the normal “Love Island,” and the games are fun and jokey, but these ones still have on “Love Island Games,” they’re so much more crucial. Everyone’s super competitive because no one wants to go home. The intensity is on a different level.
Is there anything else that you can tease about the rest of your journey on this season?
Sit back and watch — this s–t is about to get crazy.
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