'Squid Game: The Challenge' contestant, a former K-pop star, debuts solo


A “Squid Game: The Challenge” contestant who is a former K-pop idol has returned to the music scene as a solo artist.

Background: Joel Jay Lane, better known as Player 375 in “Squid Game: The Challenge” — and the lone Korean contestant in the Netflix reality show — debuted in 2014 as Jay as part of BTL (Beyond The Limit), a nine-member boy group under Kiroy Company. The group released a self-titled digital single (“Beyond The Limit,” with title track "Too-G") and a mini album (“Gold Moon”) before disbanding at the end of 2015.

In January 2023, BTL regrouped with four members — including Lane — to compete in JTBC’s survival show “Peak Time.” Since 2022, Lane has also co-hosted “The Korean Cowboys” podcast with fellow Asian American K-pop idol and Nu’est member Aaron Kwak.

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Solo debut: Lane, 33, who now goes by his first name Joel, dropped “Falling” this week, marking his debut as a solo artist. The inspirational ballad, which he helped write and compose, shows the “importance of experience and the way it helps lift people through hardships in life.”

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Fans congratulated Lane for his solo debut.

“Joel, I love this beautiful song and the fantastic music video concept,” one fan wrote. “I am a new fan of yours through ‘Korean Cowboys’ and I have never heard you sing. I love your voice! Loved the flashback footage of you, helps tell your story beautifully.”

Another fan commented, “Joel! My God! Your voice is really beautiful…I met you through ‘Korean Cowboy.’ Thank dear Aaron for introducing you to us. I support you.”

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“Let’s go 375,” another cheered.


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