Who is in it for the right reasons? Will someone’s head turn? Is Tom capable of answering any direct question with anything other than, “I don’t know?” Wait, what is this season’s euphemism for getting, um, handsy? These are all questions that arise when tuning into ‘Love Island UK‘ Season 9. Follow along here as Uproxx (hopefully) answers your questions about the 2023 winter season and decides which couples we think are strong enough to last to the finale.
(WARNING: Spoilers for up to episode 25 of Love Island UK season nine will be found below.)
Thursday night’s episode (February 9) kicked off with a recoupling, and that decision was up to the boys. Newcomer Jordan seemingly took Shaq’s advice and chose to couple up with Ellie, sending OG member Tanyel packing in a teary-eyed send-off. Surprisingly, Jordan’s decision wasn’t the most shocking moment of the night. Later on, Kai admitted there were some boys in the villa who had never cooked a full meal in their lives. I mean, come on. We’re talking about adult men in their mid-20s here. The real drama from Episode 25, though, came in the form of a rift between the OG boys Shaq and Ron, which will likely drag out for at least another episode.
Tanyel’s departure squashed any lingering potential of Ron and Tanyel ending up in a romantic couple together — a possibility the producers (and fellow islanders) had been hinting at — but also gave Lana a chance to finally get to share a bed with Ron for the first time since week one. The recoupling ultimately means there are some new couples in the running, so it’s time for us to put our matchmaking skills to the test and rank this week’s couples from least to most compatible. — Carolyn Droke
Moving Mad: Bottom Tier
7. Ellie and Jordan
Ellie and Jordan are placed at the bottom of the scale in terms of compatibility. I would rank them higher based on the few on-screen conversations aired, but any spark detected was diffused when Jordan essentially friend-zoned Ellie during his recoupling speech. Bold move there — and not too sure what his aim was, but Ellie made it clear she’ll be taking a step back after that comment. — Carolyn Droke
6. Olivia and Kai
Olivia and Kai have both had interesting journeys to where they are currently in season nine of Love Island UK. Kai has found himself in couples with Olivia (for a mere 2 minutes), Tanyel, and Samie. The latter two proved to be unsuccessful, and soon enough, Kai completed his journey around the block and found his way back to Olivia. She was previously unsuccessful in finding a match with Will, Tom, Haris, Tom, Spencer, and Tom. The two claim that they’re the one for each other, but it’s not so convincing on camera. It’s good that they’ve both found someone, but winning this season of Love Island? Eh. Additionally, Olivia continually finds minor issues with the girls and amplifies them to insane proportions as we’ve already seen with Zara (we miss you), Tanyel (we also miss you), and Samie. All in all, we’re not sold on this pairing just yet. — Wongo Okon
5. Lana and Ron
Lana and Ron have been on the rocks for the past few weeks. Between Ron briefly hitting on Ellie and Samie and Lana choosing to partner up with Casey only to both run right back into each other’s arms, watching the rollercoaster of these two has been tiresome. While their relationship seems to have settled down, save for Ron’s lack of dishwashing pissing off the other men, Casa Amor is right around the corner. Time will tell if a head-turning dude can change his ways. — Lexi Lane
On Job: Mid-Tier
4. Samie and Tom
I’ve got to give it to Tom. Being in a couple with Samie has improved his stock a bit. After his fallout with our beloved Zara, I saw no potential for Tom to finish within the top three – especially when it seemed like he was going to enter a couple with Olivia. Others may feel different, but hey you can’t blame us, his player ways with Zara and Ellie led to that conclusion. Nonetheless, Tom and Samie are a nice pairing who seem to complement each other pretty well. Contrary to Tom’s shaky time on the show, Samie seems like a really sweet girl. If Tom doesn’t let his head wander too much, there’s a chance the two could move up in our rankings. It’s still early for them, as it appears that they’ve only been together for a week or so, but the future is promising. — Wongo Okon
3. Claudia and Casey
I’m a big fan of this couple. Casey deserved to find a connection after being brutally friend-zoned by Lana — and it’s undeniable these two have chemistry. Claudia is upfront about the fact she’s looking for something long-term and Casey seems like the kind of guy to be a committed partner. Plus, Casey can’t pronounce “culinary” and Claudia can’t pronounce “Tulum,” so they’re clearly made for each other. However, judging from the way Claudia was off-put when Casey asked the likelihood of her head being turned (dude, it’s been one day), I think Claudia would, at the moment, entertain the idea of getting to know somebody else. But that doesn’t mean these two aren’t totally compatible. — Carolyn Droke
All Eggs In One Basket: Top Tier
2. Tanya and Shaq
Tanya and Shaq have great potential to win the show, they’ve been together since day one, but they need to stay out of the other islanders’ businesses. Shaq has repeatedly called Ron out for his treatment of Lana, and though he made some points, it’s grown to be a bit much. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink it, right? More recently, Shaq and Tanya, with support from Olivia, seemingly convinced Jordan to give up on pursuing Tanyel because things were not moving fast enough in their eyes, despite it just being a couple of days. Though Shaq and Tanya have been the most successful at finding and keeping love, they are not the ministers of romance. It’s best that they kick back and watch the drama unfold before someone else’s mess becomes theirs — something to keep in mind with Casa Amor just around the corner. — Wongo Okon
1. Jessie and Will
Will and Jessie have won over the hearts of literally the entire globe, which also earns them the top spot on our current Love Island couple rankings. The now-beloved sheep farmer was at first off to a tough start, as most of the girls only saw him as their bestie — until Jessie, the Aussie bombshell, showed up in week two (I’ve personally rooted for him from day one). Since then, they’ve earned a date in the hideaway and have made it clear they only have eyes for each other. Plus, if they stay together, it means we get to see even MORE of Will’s cheerful dance moves and a couple that steers clear of drama. Who doesn’t want that? — Lexi Lane
‘Love Island UK’ airs daily on the ITV channel at 9pm GMT/4pm EST/1pm PST.