Joey Essex enters the Love Island villa in series premiere as ITV promises ‘biggest season yet’

Veteran TV personality Joey Essex stunned the Love Island contestants by entering the villa on the first night.

Series 11 of the ITV2 summer staple began on Monday night (3 June), introducing 12 hopeful singletons looking for love.

After the new Islanders entered the villa and began getting to know each other, show host Maya Jama entered with an unexpected task: asking the girls and boys to rate each other in order of boyfriend and girlfriend material.

The exercise resulted in the creation of six new couples, with each girl and boy matched with someone on their level of relationship material.

In the evening, Jama returned and gave the Islanders the cryptic advice to “expect the unexpected” before introducing a new arrival.

Then, the former The Only Way is Essex star walked into the villa.

“I’m Joey, I’m 33, and I’m looking for love,” he began. “I am the king of Essex, and I am ready to find my queen.”

Joey Essex on Love Island (ITV)
Joey Essex on Love Island (ITV)

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” the former Celebs Go Dating contestant continued. “Boys, you better watch out – I’m coming for your girls.”

As the TV star turned the corner, the other Islanders reacted with gasps and laughter when they recognised him.

“That’s Joey Essex!” said Nicole, while Patsy replied, “What?”

A shocked Samantha added a simple “f*** off”, while others held their palms to their cheeks in shock.

The episode ended soon after, with viewers rushing to social media to share their responses.

Love Island 2024 contestants (ITV)
Love Island 2024 contestants (ITV)

“Joey Essex as the first bombshell this season has hit hard!!!” one fan wrote on X, while another added: “Joey Essex coming in as a bombshell in Love Island was not on my 2024 bingo card.”

Others noted that the competition for the girls’ attention may have just become more difficult for the boys when faced with a celebrity also looking for love.

“The look on every boy’s face when Joey Essex walked in… they know they’re done for,” another viewer wrote.

Elsewhere, the addition of the Towie star “Messy rankings, couplings twist, Joey ESSEX?!!!2£&&@7 WE ARE SO BACK!”

Love Island airs Sunday to Friday on ITV2 at 9.00pm.