If you've just arrived on a tropical island hoping to fall in love, there's one thing you don't want to hear.

In the world of Heartbreak Island, TVNZ 2's brutal new reality show, that exact thing got said almost immediately.

"The least popular girl on Heartbreak Island is ... Ella," announced host Mark Dye just 20 minutes into the first episode of Monday night's debut.

Standing in the Fijian sunshine in front of seven other beauties, Ella looked exactly how you'd expect her to look: completely and utterly distraught.

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"I 100 per cent feel like I want to cry," she said. "None of the boys want to get to know me. I feel like a bit of an outcast."

Ruby and Ella during Heartbreak Island's brutal pairing up ceremony.
Ruby and Ella during Heartbreak Island's brutal pairing up ceremony.

Just moments later, Ella's heartbreaking moment was repeated for Tavita, a tattooed, muscled-up member of Heartbreak Island's eight-strong boys team.

"Not being selected at all, it hit a few nerves," said the personal trainer, who insisted he didn't live up to the stereotypes of his profession.

Travita gets some bad news on Heartbreak Island.
Travita gets some bad news on Heartbreak Island.

After Ella and Tavita were paired together, Dye's co-host Matilda Rice had something nice to say to them.

"The great thing about popularity," said the winner of the first season of The Bachelor NZ, "is that it can always be improved."

In case you were wondering, Heartbreak Island is a popularity contest. The TVNZ 2 show has 16 20-somethings shacking up together in Fiji for the chance to win $100,000. It's already been dubbed the country's raunchiest reality show just based on the promos.

Tavita and Ella, Heartbreak Island's least popular contestants, are all smiles in episode one.
Tavita and Ella, Heartbreak Island's least popular contestants, are all smiles in episode one.

While the debut didn't contain any rude stuff - that might be saved up for Friday's night's uncut special - there were still plenty of shocks.

For starters, as soon as they'd met each other, the 16 contestants were paired up in order of popularity. They'd based their decisions on three photos, and a brief bio. Suddenly, 16 contestants were down to eight couples.

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So far, so Tinder.

Harry was paired with Kelsey. Ruby went with Izaak. Tiffany got Josh. Joshua got with Gennady. Julius went with Georgia. Weiting and Kristian shacked up. Stacy and Shayna paired off. Poor Ella and Tavita just stood there and stared.

From there, they went straight into their first challenge as couples: dunking for diamonds.

The couples were tied together and asked to bob for jewels. Chaoes ensued. By the end, the soggy winners were Julius and Georgia, in several ways. First, Dye and Rice doubled their winnings, from six to 12 diamonds. The prize, declared Dye, was now worth "thousands".

Then, they were told they were safe from eliminations.

Actually, this is only episode one. They're not about to eliminate anyone just yet, especially when there are four episodes of Heartbreak Island to get through each week - including Friday night's "uncut" one.

Weiting waits to find out her match on Heartbreak Island.
Weiting waits to find out her match on Heartbreak Island.

On Monday night, episode one, Dye declared that everyone was safe. That elimination will be saved for Wednesday niight.

But there was a catch. "You'll all be staying in individual couples bures," declared Dye. Each contains a double bed - and a very small single bed, just in case.

"I thought we were all going to be in a communal bedroom - separate," said a shocked Kelsey. She didn't seem happy.

"I'm pretty taken aback. It's really full on and in your face for someone you've never met before, said Joshua. He didn't seem happy either.

But, moments later, Joshua had warmed to the idea of sleeping in the same bed as Gennady, the woman he'd just been diving for diamonds with.

"We're pretty comfortable staying in the same bed," Joshua said.

"She knew I wasn't going to try and slip anything in."

Sit down and buckle up: Heartbreak Island has only just begun.

• Heartbreak Island airs Monday-Wednesday on TVNZ 2; an uncut episode airs on Friday night.