Eminem is not afraid to open the MTV Video Music Awards.
MTV general manager Stephen Friedman said Wednesday that the rapper, who's nominated for eight trophies and continues to sit atop sales charts with "Recovery," will open Sunday's ceremony at the Nokia Theatre, which has been transformed with a sprawling white set reminiscent of the out-of-this-world Theme Building at the Los Angeles International Airport.
"We thought that there's no better way to kick off the show than a performance from Eminem," said Friedman.
The enveloping stage design includes a giant rotating billboard, curvy catwalk, circular performance space and two massive video screens that will serve as curtains. VMA executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic said the undulating space, created by German designer Florian Wieder, required about 2,000 orchestra seats to be removed from the Nokia Theatre.
"Every year, we try to have a theme and purpose beyond just giving awards away," said Ignjatovic. "This year, being back in Los Angeles, we really gravitated toward mid-century modern architecture and the pop culture of the '50s, like the youth-oriented rebellion films 'Rebel Without a Cause' and 'Wild Ones.' It's a very L.A. kind of a set."
© 2010 The Associated Press.