Brad Wete
September 12, 2010 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Image Credit: Vince Bucci/PictureGroupComing off a summer so amazing he left us wondering how he did it, Eminem capped off the season by opening up tonight’s VMAs with “Not Afraid” and his Rihanna-assisted “Love the Way You Lie.” In a black jacket, hooded sweatshirt, and white tee, the Detroit rhymer intensely ripped through “Not Afraid.”

In a white knee-length tutu, blazing red hair and black combat boots, Rihanna–who slyly fibbed about not being able to make the show tonight because of prior obligations earlier this week–popped up on stage halfway through “Not Afraid” for “Lie.” The crowd ate it up, jumping to their feet before they closed and hugged as fire lit the jumbo screens. Em’s comeback is complete, it seems.

Did you catch the performance? Let us know what you think.

More MTV VMAs coverage on EW.com:

MTV VMAs: We’re live-blogging it!

VMAs: Video of the Year nominees

VMA nominees: Surprising winners and losers

Kanye West apologizes to Taylor Swift: ‘I only want to do good.’

VMAs: 15 terrible fashion choices

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