Lads, this is the final week in the Villa… you’re either rejoicing its imminent departure from our telly boxes or already lamenting the loss of appointment nightly TV. Either way, canny venues around Dublin city and beyond are making hay while they still can.
Cinemas and small venues plan to celebrate the finale — and there’s more reason than ever this year.
Why? Because it’s highly likely an Irish contestant will take a share the £50k prize money. Indeed, for the first time in the show’s history, we have not one but two Irish hopefuls to cheer for.
Maura Higgins has managed to dodge several bullets to last the pace and has been one of the most popular contestants to date. Why? Because she’s Marmite: viewers either love her wholeheartedly or loathe the mere mention of her.
I fall into the former camp, mostly because I’ve been reviewing the show every night (yes, every night) for Independent.ie and this year’s series was something of a damp squib until Maura rocked into the Villa some six weeks ago.
For those requiring a potted history, observe…
MAURA & CUUUHRTIS
She may have had her sights firmly set on Tommy Fury but, alas, it wasn’t to be. The Longford lass tried repeatedly to score him during her first 24 hours in the Villa.
Many viewers believed her actions should have spurred producers to show her the door; if roles were reversed and that was a male creeping up a female’s torso and forcing her to swerve an onslaught of frenzied pecks, it wouldn’t be tolerated.
What people fail to recall, however, is that earlier in the evening, Tommy had made a point of showing Maura just how, um, pleased he’d been to see her.
With Tommy opting to couple up with Molly-Mae, this meant Maura was single and therefore being sent home.
Producers, however, swooped in, sending herself and Anna on dates with new islanders. Producers pulled a similar move more recently, making Maura immune from the public vote as she was coupled up with newbie Chris. In short, people want to watch her, hence why rumours already abound of her inclusion in this year’s I’m a Celebrity line up.
Having been coupled up with a steady stream of faces throughout her stint on the series, she is now happily partnered with ballroom dancer Curtis Pritchard, him off Dancing With The Stars. We didn’t see it coming either.
GREG AND AMBER
Limerick pro rugby player and lawyer in the making Greg O’Shea has been quite the hit with viewers, and he’s been in there less than a week.
In fact, Twitter has been collectively crowing about how latecomers to the Villa, such as Ovie, Chris and Greg, should have been there from the offset such is their popularity.
While Greg had said in his opening gambit that he would be partial to a bit of Maura as she’s “great craic”, he opted to go with one of the most stunning, if not the soundest female contestant in there — 21-year-old beautician Amber. Cynical sorts across social media have inferred he may be hedging his bets.
As one of the latest arrivals, he’s sure to have known about Amber’s increasing popularity among viewers. Additionally, if he did lure Maura away from Curtis, he would possibly shoot himself in the foot with regards the public vote.
Irish viewers, despite it being a big ratings hit for Virgin Media Two (particularly on Player), are STILL unable to vote.
Rant aside, while Greg has only been there a wet week, he’s still a deserving winner considering he’s been instrumental in the departure of this year’s gaslighting enthusiast, Michael.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Other contenders for the crown include a very handsome basketballer, a very sound boxer and a gym owner who clearly needs the money for laser hair removal for his posterior.
Jordan & Anna: They may be “the second strongest couple” in there, but they’ve repeatedly found themselves among the couples with the least amount of public votes. This is mainly down to Anna’s take-no-prisoners personality and Jordan’s relentless positivity.
Molly-Mae & Tommy: Meet “the strongest couple” in there. Tommy Fury has been a viewers’ favourite since the beginning. He’s shown nothing but loyalty, brute honesty and the most blinding baby blues in Villa history. However, not everyone is quite as keen on the queen of memes (her array of ‘shocked’ faces have been gold). Molly-Mae has been branded all sorts by the baying public — including fake, bitchy, and only in it for the £50k. As the Instagrammer said on last night’s show: “If people still think I’m fake at this point, what hope have I got?”
Ovie & India: If Amber hadn’t friend-zoned Ovie, they would be odds on favourite to seize the prize. The 6ft 7in pro basketballer has brought viewers the warm and fuzzies since being brought from Casa Amor by Anna by just casually doing his own thing.
Belle & Anton: Despite Anton’s mother’s enthused musings on Sunday night’s After Sun show, we just don’t see any chemistry between this paring — particularly after last night’s show and the highly illuminating ‘Sidebar of Shame’ challenge. I’ve said it before and I’ll utter it once more; Belle has shaved Anton’s behind… she’s in it for the long haul.
Chris & Harley: Nope.
WHERE TO WATCH THE LOVE ISLAND FINALE
Well, that summary of sorts has either repelled or propelled you into action. Assuming it’s the latter, here are where the best bants are to be had on Monday, July 29.
Omniplex Rathmines and Cork: Last year, their finale party was a raging success. This year, the Omiplex are devoting cinemas in both Dublin and Cork to screen the Villa’s last gasps. In Dublin attendees will be treated to a glass of Prosecco on arrival in the VIP lounge before the show starts, and popcorn will then be provided during the main event. Tickets are €11 and can be purchased via the Omiplex website. For the Cork screening tickets are €9.10 including a large combo and doors will open at 8.45pm followed by the live stream of Love Island at 9pm.
The Living Room, Cathal Brugha Street: If a more intimate venue closer to the city centre is your bag, the Living Room boasts a large outdoor area with TV screens, and food will be served until 10.30pm for the peckish among you.
Opium, Wexford Street: A main meal and a glass of wine are on offer for €20 for those keen to splash out. Otherwise, there’s a promise of popcorn plus a chance to win a dinner for two at the pan-Asian eatery. Tickets are priced at €13 via eventBrite.ie, and you’re advised to “crack on and get them before they’re gone”.
Two, Harcourt Street: With Love Island Cocktail offers clocking in at two for €12, and a ‘TWENTY-FOOT MONSTER SCREEN’ in their beer garden, there is bound to be a queue around the block. You do, however, need to book a ticket via eventBrite.ie to gain entry, so best visit the club’s Facebook page @dtwonightclub and click on their ‘events’.
McGowans, PhibsBorough: One of the many places offering a ‘twofer’ on Love Island-themed beverages (McGowan’s is doing two for €12 cocktails and gin specials). While this is another free event, you do have to obtain a ticket via eventBrite.ie.
Clonsilla Inn, Weavers Row: This venue will also be praying for some Majorcan-style weather as they plan to show the finale on their 11-foot screen in the beer garden.
Wrights Cafe Bar, Swords: This venue is throwing a Beach Club-style party from 7pm, where you’re invited to quaff (sensibly) cocktails, while twirling the night away to the show’s dance anthems courtesy of their late bar and DJ. No tickets are required, but pre-booking is possible via their Facebook (@wrightscafebar) page. If you pre-book, you’ll get to enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly. Sure, what else would you be doing of a Monday night?
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