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'Love Island': A Clear Frontrunner Couple Emerges After Recoupling

Love and heartbreak are both in abundance on Love Island. Thursday’s recoupling episode was as dramatic as expected — but the declarations of adoration and romance from the season’s strongest couples managed to overshadow the eliminations.

Leading up to Thursday’s recoupling, a lot of relationships were either up in the air or had completely fallen apart. Kierstan’s connection to Bennett had gotten icy — although she formed a surprisingly close friendship with Laurel, who was coupled with Kierstan’s ex, Carrington.

Meanwhile, Carrington was eyeing newcomer Lakeyn — whom Bennett also began pursuing — but couldn’t figure out whether his attraction to her was worth blowing up the bond he’d formed with Laurel. As always, Moria and Calvin were getting along fine and no one seemed to care at all about whatever is going on with them.

However, things between two of the show’s longest-lasting couples had been getting stronger and stronger. Cely and Johnny had repaired their relationship after Johnny’s admitted make-out fest during Casa Amor, and Caleb and Justine were just as cute as ever.

When it came time to the recoupling, the show got the obvious choices out to the way first. Calvin chose to recouple with Moira, and Johnny picked Cely, whom he’d already asked to officially be his girlfriend.

“I would like to couple up with this girl because, outside of the fact that I have the privilege to call this beautiful girl my girlfriend, coming into this experience, I would have never expected to meet somebody that brings even half of what she does to the table,” Johnny told a blushing, beaming Cely. “Your confidence, your humor, and your beauty. I’m so excited to see what the outside has to offer for us. Thank you so much for this experience.”

I have the privilege to call this beautiful girl my girlfriend. ♥️ #LoveIslandUSApic.twitter.com/xd7ed5uI0v

While his words were sweet, a lot of fans have had a hard time getting over the sheer amount of kissing, touching, cuddling and flirting that went on between Johnny and Mercedes in Casa Amor.

Which is why Justine and Caleb — or “Jaleb,” as fans have taken to calling them — have emerged as the frontrunners to win this season. Thursday’s genuine and heartfelt speech from Caleb only cemented that in many fans’ minds.

“I want to couple up with this girl because she has made my experience something far greater than anything I ever imagined possible,” Caleb said. “I stood up here the first time, and her and I coupled up with this gut feeling that she would challenge me to become a better man. And I thank her for helping me become better man.”

Caleb went on to say, “Not only does she make me feel like the luckiest man in the villa, but lately I’ve been feeling like the luckiest man in the world.”

justine and caleb are falling in love right before our eyes. Queen Justine has truly found her King, in Caleb. we love to see it. #LoveIsland#LoveIslandUSA#JalebHive#justineandcaleb ❤️🌴❤️🌴 pic.twitter.com/emGmLHZgTk

CALEB’S SPEECH WON. THEY WON. NO ONE ELSE MATTERS. CALEB ATE. IM OVER HERE SMILING AND BLUSHIMG LIKE IM JUSTINE. CALLIN HER QUEEN & EVERYTHING. #LoveIslandUSA#LoveIslandpic.twitter.com/4vkkTRlzyX

That was the BEST speech! Caleb is a REAL MAN! He and Justine's love for one another is real. #LoveIslandUSA

I love how Caleb takes notes on things Justine says that means a lot to her and he makes those notes into a idea to prove his love 🥺❤️it’s so genuine #LoveIslandUSA#loveislandpic.twitter.com/1W118w334h

With that love fest going on, it made the rest of the recoupling seem extra painful. Carrington and Bennett were up next, and it was anyone’s guess who Carrington would decide he wanted to keeping looking for love with.

Ultimately, however, Carrington decided to keep things going with Laurel — and that all but sealed the fates of Kierstan and Julia — who really never even got a chance to pretend to find a spark. Bennett shocked no one by deciding to pursue a romance with Lakeyn, meaning Kierstan and Julia had to pack up their stuff and say goodbye.

“I didn’t find a love connection but that’s OK,” Julia shared after leaving the villa. “I think that everything works out how it is supposed to, and it was the way it was supposed to be.”

“Obviously I was here from Day 1 for Carrington, and just nothing really wavered with that,” Kierstan shared after the recoupling. “I am at the point where I wanted him and Laurel to make it to the end. And now they are, and I think that says a lot about me and my growth, for being happy for the people that I care about.”

Love Island airs nightly at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS with highlight episodes airing Saturdays.

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