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Every Love Island Season Ranked Worst To Best

What do you get when you take the puritanism out of reality dating shows like "Too Hot to Handle," the snarky sarcasm out of shows like "FBOY Island," and replace those elements with "American Idol"-esque gimmicks where the audience gets to vote for the winner? That would be "Love Island," the CBS reality dating/game show where contestants couple up and compete in various challenges in order to win a $100,000 cash prize. It originally started out in the UK and featured contestants who would become celebrities. It's also got several spinoff series in many different countries.

Each season features an exotic location, dozens of young, hot singles looking for love (and fame, and money), and a series of wacky and entertaining contests which could make or break their chances at winning the grand prize. Fans help decide the outcomes by voting via the Android or iPhone app. But the final decision — whether to keep the full bag of prize money for themselves or to share it with the contestant they've partnered up with — is ultimately up to the lucky winner who chooses the correct envelope. There have been three seasons of the American version of the show so far, and we're about to rank them from worst to best.

Fewer fans came back for Season 3 than any of the previous seasons

According to this scathing review from The Young Folks, Murphy's Law was the real winner of "Love Island" Season 3. Everything that could have gone wrong, did — even down to the excessive amount of rain that the islanders got caught in while trying to find love on the island of Nīnole, Hawai'i. The author declared that "the third season was by far the worst," claiming that the romances were so tame it felt more like "Friendship Island" and that the newer islanders didn't get a fair amount of screen time compared to those contestants which were there on day one. The most popular tweets about the show's third season reflect this sentiment, with @alliecaroline1 complaining that "the first half of season 3> the second half" and @queen___seokjin insisting that "Season 3 should have just been in a spam email."

The Season 3 finale was the least watched finale out of all the show's seasons, with only 1.6 million viewers tuning in for the live broadcast on TV. Granted, 1.6 million of anything is nothing to sneeze at, which we'll talk more about in a minute. But it pales in comparison to the other seasons.

The show took Las Vegas by storm in Season 2

Season 2 was a long time coming due to COVID-19 production delays, but the show eventually found its new home in Las Vegas. This particular season featured an exciting twist that you don't see on most reality dating shows: not just one, but two BIPOC contestants took home the grand prize (via US Weekly) and got lucky in love ... at first glance, anyhow. In the end, they both deservedly kept the prize money, but the relationship fizzled out once real world complications tested their bond.

While the second season didn't get the highest ratings compared to the winning season (we'll give you one guess as to which one makes the top of the list), it did start strong with over 1.89 million live views for its debut episode. It even picked up additional viewership by the season finale, which was celebrated by 2.02 million fans eagerly tuning in. The Season 3 finale, conversely, lost viewership compared to its 1.86 million views for the season premiere.

Love Island is still best known for making its biggest splash in Season 1

So far, Season 1 of "Love Island" is the clear winner based on a number of factors. It took place in an exotic villa in Fiji, made excellent use of cliffhanger episodes to keep the audience engaged, and it put its own unique twist on the way reality dating shows worked (for American audiences, at least). It also had the benefit of being shiny and new, a novelty which drew in 2.7 million viewers for its debut episode.

On top of its highly anticipated debut, it finished strong with 2.54 million viewers who tuned in for the season finale. Fans like @willjames93 relished in retrospect how much more he enjoyed the way Season 1 incorporated new islanders compared to how follow-up seasons tried (and failed) to do the same. And fans like @PaulStans1 were "legit upset" about the winning couple breaking up after the show wrapped, which sharply contrasts how fans have reacted to other breakups from later seasons with skepticism and outright derision. Fans seemed much more emotionally invested in the couples' relationships during Season 1 compared to Seasons 2 and 3.

But this is far from the end for "Love Island." The show has already been renewed for two more seasons, according to TV Series Finale. Although it'll be switching networks from CBS to Peacock, it'll be interesting to see what changes the producers make in order to recapture the magic of Season 1 and bring their fans back in.