Well, there’s no doubt that Melanie Amaro had a jolly holiday weekend. The 19-year-old from Sunrise, Florida won The X Factor and became $5 million richer last Thursday night. Whatever Santa brought Melanie on Saturday night, it probably couldn’t top that.

Now that the dust has settled, the presents have been unwrapped and the country is emerging out of its Christmas stupor and getting back to business — what’s up with Melanie, Simon and the rest of the season one X Factor family? Here are the latest links to keep you in the post-finale loop:

Ne-Yo Warns Melanie: Don’t End Up Like Britney

After performing on the X Factor finale, Ne-Yo had these words of wisdom for winner Melanie Amaro for how to stay sane in the crazy world of show business: “”Make sure that you keep – that big family that she has – keep them close because they’ll keep you grounded. They’ll keep your head right. Yes men, you’ll get no points for those. See what they did to Britney. See what happens.” Apparently it works even better if that family loves to insult you: “My sister calls me every day and tells me how ugly I am and it keeps my feet on the ground,” Ne-Yo added. Maybe just stick with that first part of the advice, Melanie.

Speaking of the Disney Machine that Helped Do Britney In…

A source says that Rachel Crow, who’s reportedly been in talks with Disney and Nickelodeon since she was eliminated in the Top 5, may start out with some walk-ons, voiceover gigs and (of course!) songs with Disney to ease her into their ultimate goal of forming a show around her. 

And Speaking of Advice…

Simon told EW that his advice to the first American Idol winner also applies to his first American X Factor winner: “Remember, it was the fans who got you here. Never forget the fans. I said that to Kelly Clarkson. I’ve seen people from these shows, one minute they’re “Thank you for voting for me,” next thing, they’re not signing autographs. I don’t buy that kind of behavior. If they’ve made you, you have a debt with them, and it’s long term. But [Melanie] is that kind of girl.”

Who’s on Simon’s Record Deal Wishlist?

Even though Melanie “is the priority,” says Cowell, the show has the rights to sign other contestants for a few more months, and there are several whom he thinks will get deals with Sony: “Anyone we’re genuinely not interested in, they’ll be let go quickly. But there is a lot of interest in a lot of the artists. You can’t sign everyone, but, I mean, you’re not going to let Astro go. You’re not going to let Chris go, Josh go. It would be madness.”

What Melanie Plans to Do with Her $5 Million

The usual stuff: Buy her mom a house, get a foot massage, buy a lifetime supply of chicken … wait, what?

About The X Factor Season 2…

Simon says it’s going to be “a bloodbath.” I think that’s meant to be enticing. One thing about next season that’s definitely enticing? Nicole Scherzinger is already on the fence about participating, saying, “I’m an artist first, not a judge. At the beginning of next year, I’m focusing on my album and going on tour in Europe.”

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.