Summer loving, had me a blast …
“Love Island” returns for Season 3 Wednesday (July 7) on CBS — and host Arielle Vandenberg says she’s “freaking out!” about the new field of contestants (or “Islanders” in show-speak).
“I don’t even know what they look like [yet]. You would think that I know everything, but it’s kind of a surprise to me, too,” Vandenberg, 34, told The Post.
The dating show originated in the UK in 2005 and has spawned versions all over the world, including the US incarnation, which filmed Season 1 in Fiji and Season 2 in Las Vegas. Season 3 is set in Hawaii.
In the show, a group of 12 singles live in a mansion in an exotic location (hence Hawaii), where they must immediately partner up in couples (despite having just met), go through various wacky challenges and sometimes switch partners. The winning couple gets a $100,000 prize.
As host for the third consecutive season, actress/comedian Vandenberg doesn’t stay in the house with the Islanders, but she is on location where they are for the duration of the shoot — visiting them to announce new challenges including playing games designed to get them to reveal secrets; fighting cardboard cut-outs of villains to “save” their partner; or attempting to complete an obstacle course while looking “sexy.”
“I love being the big sister of the house. I just come in and oversee everything,” she said. “It’s a really special role. People weirdly get excited when I come in, or they get scared. Either I’m bringing good news or bad news. I have such a fun part on the show.”
One of the upcoming events in Season 3 will be related to a steamy Netflix hit, Vandenberg said.
“Let’s just say if you love ‘Bridgerton’ as much as I do, you’re going to want to watch,” she said. “Because there might be a challenge there that involves some kind of ‘Bridgerton’ theme.”
To make matters more complicated, new singles are thrown into the mix at various points, and the audience gets some say into who’s booted off the show (via voting). Season 3 will also see the return of Casa Amor, which is a second villa to which half the cast is sent. There, they meet a brand new group of singles and must decide if they want to stick with their current partner or opt for a new one.
“Season 2 was our first season having Casa Amor. We will have it back this season, which is my favorite part of the show,” said Vandenberg. “It’s the ultimate temptation. All of the sudden there’s new girls and new guys, and the people that you think are staying together are split up, and now they’re with a whole bunch of new people. It stirs the pot. That’s what we need in this show.”
Since “Love Island” is such a quintessentially British show, it was unclear how it would land in America. But three seasons in, Vandenberg thinks it’s been a success.
“Love is love, whether you’re in England or in America. People love watching the friendships that blossom on this show and the love that comes out of it.”
Each season sees the typical personality types common on dating shows: the cocky person, the soulful one, etc.
“I’m interested in those people that don’t have filters and just go for it,” Vandenberg said. “If I was on this show in the first lineup, I would step forward [as a dating option] for every person that walked out. Because who cares? You’ve got to put it all out there. Those are the people whose journeys I love following. They live the experience and do what they’re supposed to do on this show, which is to have fun with it and really go for it.”
Although she hasn’t yet interacted with Season 3’s crop of Islanders, she say Season 2’s Cely Vazquez is a favorite.
“I loved watching her because yes, she was coupled up with Johnny [Middlebrooks] the entire time, but it just felt like she was so open. And I love that type of journey for someone. The people that are the most open get the most out of the show, and we get the most out of them as viewers.”