Eminem’s VMA-Opening Performance Will Be A ‘Triumph’

'It's a testament to the year he's had, his return to the top,' awards-show executive producer says.

Eminem’s voyage from the depths of addiction to the top of the Billboard albums chart is perhaps the music story of 2010, so it’s fitting that he’ll head into Sunday night’s Video Music Awards as the most-nominated male artist , with nods for Best Male Video, Best Hip-Hop Video and, of course, Video of the Year for his massive “Not Afraid.”

And, given all that, it’s equally fitting that he’s opening the show too. While the details of his performance have been kept a closely guarded secret, we now know a few bits of key information: He will be drawing heavily from both his rocky road to redemption and his triumphant ascension back to the top.

“Eminem is opening the show, and the theme of his performance is ‘triumph,’ ” VMA executive producer Dave Sirulnick told MTV News. “It’s a testament to the year he’s had, his return to the top.

“He tells a story, and the viewers will definitely pick up on that.”

Rehearsals for Em’s performance are sure to be a closed-set affair, so we’re a little short on specifics, but it sounds very much like he’ll be taking his fans on a personal voyage. Of course, that’s part of why his Recovery has been such a huge success: He doesn’t flinch, and he doesn’t hide from the truth. The album is an incredibly personal listen, not to mention a particularly brave effort. And come VMA night — where he’s the odds-on favorite to take home plenty of hardware — he’ll continue to get personal and continue to be brave. It’s what makes him the best in the business, really.

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News’ VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET/PT.